COVID-19 updates: The Distance Teaching & Learning conference will be held online from August 3-7, 2020. For the latest, view Continuing Studies COVID-19 updates.

Online education administration certificate helps associate dean achieve goals

woman in audience smiling at speaker, surrounded by other attendees

Stacey Moore earned the Online Education Administration credential from the Distance Teaching & Learning team at UW-Madison, and she put it into practice instantly.

As associate dean of faculty services for Olivet Online at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill., Moore focused her final project last summer in the Online Education Administration program on moving her university’s faculty development programs online.

head shot of Stacey Moore
Stacey Moore earned the Online Education Administration credential from the Distance Teaching & Learning team at UW-Madison.

That project quickly became a plan and today is reality at Olivet Online.

“For my final project, I studied how to move on-the-ground faculty development programs completely online. I worked with the instructor and other students to come up with a plan that we have implemented here,” she says. “That started with this online certificate and helped sharpen my goals.”

Offered through the Distance Teaching & Learning team at UW–Madison Continuing Studies, the Online Education Administration certificate is designed to help higher education professionals create a culture of acceptance of online learning and become more strategic with distance learning initiatives.

“We really want the practical application, so once they finish the course and head back to their institutions, they apply something they’ve learned. It’s very practical for strategies and tips to move the ball forward,” says Janet Staker Woerner, program manager for online noncredit offerings. “People come prepared to roll up their sleeves.”

Making online learning interactive and inclusive

Olivet Nazarene has aggressively moved into online education, moving nursing, education, business and a doctoral program online within the last 18 months. Previously, adjuncts who were near campus could attend in-person development programs in the online arena.

Since Olivet Nazarene couldn’t fly all of its 500 adjuncts to campus for training, many were left with viewing videos of the sessions online afterward.

“That didn’t meet our needs. It wasn’t interactive and was very non-inclusive. So, we moved away from that,” she says. “We’re now able to disseminate specific faculty training through a portal. That really started with the certificate program.”

Tied to the Distance Teaching & Learning Conference

The certificate program – facilitated by Brian Udermann, director of online education at UW-La Crosse – attracts faculty interested in moving into administration, distance education managers, directors of online degree programs and university administrators who oversee online course and degree programs.

Linked to UW–Madison’s Distance Teaching & Learning Conference, which each year attracts about 700 participants, the program involves 30 hours of online coursework and 20 hours attending the conference, which includes a face-to-face certificate workshop.

One important aspect of online education is dealing with the cultural and practical changes that distance learning involves.

“It equips people well to deal with not only change and but particular questions when it comes to the online environment,” Staker Woerner says of the certificate program. “Or, maybe you have a program and want to make it more robust.”

Small-group learning

The small cohort in the certificate program – this year 11 higher education administrators are involved – also ensures that participants can develop their professional networks, brainstorm with colleagues and work together to solve problems.

“It’s an intimate group and they get to know each other very well,” Staker Woerner says. “People share their challenges and opportunities and build a network to support one another.”

Moore says the program carried many benefits for her and Olivet Nazarene, a private Christian institution.

“One of the selling points for me was the cost and the ability to network with program administrators that are from different backgrounds,” Moore says. “I wanted to pursue online programming more deeply. I thought it would help me in my field, but I also wanted to understand what other institutions were doing in the online arena.”

Learn more about the Online Education Administration Certificate program.