Sloan Awards Honor Nation's Top Online Programs

There are thousands of online offerings; learn the techniques employed by the top programs. By…

Georgia (Sep 28, 2010)

Link To Article

There are thousands of online offerings; learn the techniques employed by the top programs.

Posted September 28, 2010
The University of Illinois—Springfield and Kennesaw State University are among the winners of the 2010 Sloan Consortium Awards for Excellence in Online Teaching and Learning.

Sloan is an online education association with more than 200 institutional and 700 individual members. Awards were given to schools nominated from Sloan’s pool of member institutions. Though for-profit schools enroll the lion’s share of online students, award winners this year included private, public, and nonprofit schools. For instance, Drexel University and Boston University—two private schools with traditional campuses—tied for the award for excellence in institution-wide online education because the scope and quality of their online programs matched that of their on-campus offerings. …

Kennesaw State University, which won the award for excellence in faculty development for online teaching, has gone to great lengths to train traditional faculty in the ways of online instruction. In an effort to help the faculty better understand what it’s like to be in the students’ shoes, professors use online interfaces themselves as they learn relevant teaching techniques. So far, about 50 professors at the school have completed the 14 weeks of training it takes for them to craft their own online course. Teachers are also required to obtain online teaching certifications from Quality Matters, which involves a peer-to-peer review of online courses and professors.
Richard Vengroff, the dean of the Kennesaw’s college of humanities and social sciences, has taught online and claims that he and his colleagues have noticed the nature of online learning heightens the level of interaction with students. Rather than merely hearing from a few students put on the spot when he poses a question in class, he gets responses from all of them and they have more time to formulate richer, deeper written answers. He also maintains that Kennesaw tries to keep the quality of the online courses high by capping enrollment at 25 students per class as opposed to the several hundred who regularly attend lectures on campus. He insists that limiting class size hasn’t helped Kennesaw’s bottom line, but has ensured that the quality of classes remains high, while allowing Kennesaw to expand despite having no more room for students on campus. “People think we do the online classes because it’s cheaper and we make big profits on it,” Vengroff says. “That just isn’t the case.”


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit