Seven Quality Assurance Strategies to Grow and Support Online Programs


Sallie A. Reissman
Sr. Director of Online Learning & Educational Technology, Wilmington University

Session Description
Institutions are looking for systematic ways to grow their online programs. This session will explore seven strategies used by Wilmington University to develop over twenty online programs in five years.

What was the design? How did we retain our faculty and students? This presentation will highlight each strategy and the steps involved in the planning that increased enrollments each year while maintaining quality courses and services.

Participants will walk away with handouts and access to all online materials shared during the session.


Wilmington University enrolls 15,000 students in 13 locations in DE, NJ, and MD.  The college offers 17 undergraduate and 8 graduate online programs.  WU has 5 instructional designers on staff. Faculty are paid $2,000 to a design a course.  It takes about 4 months to develop a course.  The college has developed 681 courses to date.  Redevelopment of 313 courses also so far.  Courses need to be redeveloped/updated.  WU’s strategic plan after written was supported through 6 new positions (student navigator, technologist, instructional resource specialist, 3 online coordinators).

A good web of support provides guidance:


  1. Course Design – Product
    Syllabus includes learning outcomes and design support via instructional designers.
    Course shell has brought consistency in structure, language, sequence.  It offers a template.
  2. Faculty Development – Sales Force
    100% online training for faculty
    Basic skills
    OL Orientation
    Design Skills including TPACK
    Shadowing is used
  3. Technology – Infrastructure
    Tutoring via Smart Thinking
    24/7 Support
    Register online and students services like bookstore
    Blackboard 9.1 branding, promotion, demos/workshops, videos, and posters
  4. Services – Customer Satisfaction
    Student Services Group
    Use Noel Levitz PSOL
    Electronic Services
    Building Relationships via faculty development, liaisons, chair roundtables, social networking, student life events
    Communication students/faculty via surveys, emma (constant contact / crm), active calendar, jot form, formats
  5. Staff – High Tech/High Touch
  6. Accreditation – Closing the Loop
    Online strategic plan
    Human Resources
    Program Completion
  7. Marketing – Planning for Growth
    Strategic Plan
    Program Completion
    State Authorization

Future plans include more professional development, developing a repository of online academic resources, new program development, building relationships like, and technology expansion and use.

Best practices and challenges:

  • Course Design
  • Prof Development
  • Technology
  • Student Services
  • High Tech/Touch
  • Outcomes Data
  • Strategic Marketing



About ekunnen
Eric has a passion for, works to lead, support, and coordinate effective uses of technology in teaching and learning. He is an Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Allendale, Michigan. His primary role focuses on collaborating and supporting distance learning initiatives at the university while exploring future trends in emerging technologies in teaching and learning. He also collaborates to research and support academic technologies used in the classroom and in eLearning. Previously, Eric was the Emerging Technologies Coordinator at GVSU and a Director of Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Eric has a background in teaching Computer Science and Biology at the secondary level and a Master of Arts in Education with an emphasis in Educational Technology. I'm on mission to advance teaching and learning through the integration of emerging and innovative instructional technologies... More

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