MAIN QUESTIONS FROM THE UIUC GLOBAL CAMPUS TASK FORCE (GCTF)
1. The "Global Campus," as proposed, would be organized as a for-profit Limited Liability Company (LLC) that would eventually become an independently run business within the University. Is there an alternative way of achieving the goal of wider access to high-quality educational opportunities online without the costs and institutional repercussions of creating a profit-oriented fourth "campus"?
2. What would it take for the U of I to become a leader in large-scale online undergraduate degree programs without detriment to the aspiration of our campus to preeminence among public research universities (and the corresponding aspirations of the other two campuses)? Specifically, can significant numbers of regular faculty on the three campuses be intensively involved in such efforts without diminishing their commitment to and time for other research, service and on-campus teaching activities? If there would have to be trade-offs, would they be worth it?
3. If educational quality and innovation are going to be the hallmarks of the Global Campus, can they be achieved and sustained without continuous close collaboration with faculty and departmental units, not only in the start-up phase of the Global Campus, but throughout its operations?
4. Would the Global Campus (as presently envisioned as an independently accredited entity) have a detrimental impact on the online and on-campus programs of the three existing campuses? Will it siphon off students or faculty efforts from successful existing programs, for example?
5. What should come first: an institutional commitment to provide large-scale high-quality, low-cost online undergraduate degree programs, or a clear indication of what these programs would look like, and of what qualifications those delivering them on a large scale would need to have? Is it wise to commit to a Global Campus and a Business Plan without a clear Academic Plan and Governance Plan? Does the current Business Plan pre-empt future academic decisions (for example, length of terms)?
6. What safeguards would be needed to ensure that a Global Campus delivering online undergraduate and graduate programs, run "like a business," with "strict business discipline" and in a "for-profit" manner, and with the kind of governing structure described in the "Final Report," would preserve academic quality in its programs in the emerging (increasingly competitive) marketplace for such programs? Would there be inevitable market pressures to lower “production costs” for online courses and programs (for example, through the adoption of a standardized course management system)?
7. Could existing course and degree program approvals on the three existing campuses be considered to cover the seven-week course format envisioned in the Global Campus? Or would seven-week courses have to be considered new courses, and would degree programs featuring seven-week courses have to be considered new programs, both of which would require new approval?
8. Does the "open admission of all qualified applicants" policy of the Global Campus create problems of consistency in the grading standards to be used in Global Campus courses in relation to their on-campus counterparts (with their very different sorts of student populations)? Beyond a certain point, won’t “expanding access” REQUIRE lower admissions standards?
9. How could Global Campus students have a role in its governance comparable to their role in the governance of the three existing campuses, if it is organized as an LLC? Would that organization preclude any such role because their status as customers would create a conflict of interest?
10. Does the proposed framework for the Global Campus anticipate future trends in online education, or is it assuming course design and delivery systems that will constrain future developments? Do the separate categories of online versus on-campus programs fit future student needs?
11. Does the U of I have an obligation or responsibility, as a state university and land-grant institution, to get into the large-scale online undergraduate degree completion business? Do all state-university land-grant institutions have such an obligation?
12. As a for-profit entity, the Global Campus will, as we understand it, not be eligible under current “Fair Use” regulations as outlined in the TEACH Act. Would that make the availability of copyrighted materials in support of instruction cost-prohibitive?