Academic Administration in the Virtual Environment

Course Number: DEL 7120
Course Name: Academic Administration in the Virtual Environment (Online)
Course Description:    Students in this course will examine administrative issues with an academic team of faculty/staff. Topic include course scheduling, teacher/student absences, time and labor reporting, vacation/holiday planning, tracking course attendance and grades, student academic progress, student drops, tracking online teaching, faculty tenure, faculty/staff meetings, academic calendars, and faculty files and documents.
Prerequisites:    None
Level: Graduate
Credits: 3
Format: Online
Program: Master of Science in Distance Education Leadership

Registration Instructions

NOTE: The information below is representative of the course and is subject to change.  The specific details of the course will be available in the Desire2Learn course instance for the course in which a student registers.

Additional Information

Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this course, you should be able to

  • Create an organizational structure for a long-distance educational institution.
  • Analyze the differences between types of educational institutions and virtual programs offered.
  • Propose a strategy for student retention and academic progress in an online educational program.
  • Evaluate various opportunities to increase funding for an institution.
  • Recommend a policy that upholds academic rigor and integrity for a virtual environment situation.

Unit Descriptions
Course Organization and Assignment Descriptions

Unit 1: Course Introducation, Development of Administrative Theory

This course begins with an explanation of the nature of administrative theory. You will learn about the relationship between theory and research and the major developments in administrative approaches, such as classical, human relations, behavioral science, and post-behavioral science, as well as some emerging nontraditional perspectives.

Our seminar in this unit will provide an introduction to this course, as well as an overview of the units covering educational administration, with nuances specific to the virtual environment during the next sixteen weeks. We will also discuss “the why,” “the what,” and “the how” of a distance education course. There is an abundance of reading in any distance education course. So, break it up by taking the time to listen to the included audio files and video clips.

Unit 2: Organizational Structure

In Unit 2, you will learn more about organization structure and examine the management models of McGregor, Argyris, Likert, Sergiovanni, and Bolman and Deal. We will also cover alternative models of organizational structure. The unit will conclude by exploring social systems theory to assess the functionality of the institution.

Unit 3: Organizational Culture

In Unit 3, you will learn about the nature and characteristics of organizational culture. Specifically, the unit will focus on how the culture is created, maintained, and changed. Further, you will analyze four well-known organizational climate constructs and their impact on an institution’s effectiveness.

Unit 4: Motivation

In Unit 4, you will learn what motivation means to the workforce and examine the concepts of effort, persistence, and direction of employee motives as a foundation of motivation in the academic organization. In addition, you will delve in to the various process theories and content theories of motivation.

Unit 5: Leadership

Unit 5 explains the nature of leadership in organizations by defining leadership and contrasting it from management. You will examine trait, behavior, and contingency theories of leadership and analyze various styles of leadership.

Unit 6: Decision Making

In Unit 6, you will learn about the types of decisions academic administrators make. Specifically, the unit examines the two important models of decision making: the rational model and the bounded rationality model. The discussion rounds out by exploring the advantages of group decision making and techniques that can be used to improve decision making.

Unit 7: Communication

Unit 7 deals with the direction of communication flows in academic organizations. You will look at both verbal and nonverbal communication, as well as communication networks. Communication networks include network patterns and network analysis. The unit will conclude by discussing common barriers to communication and techniques for overcoming those barriers.

Unit 8: Organizational Change

In Unit 8, you will learn about the major sources of resistance to change, as well as strategies that academic administrators can use to overcome that resistance. In addition, we will examine the three models used to manage change: Lewin’s force-field analysis, Kotter’s eight-step plan, and Harris’s five-phase model. Finally, you will analyze six organizational techniques to implement change in the academic setting.

Unit 9: Government and Education

In Unit 9, you will learn about the relationship between federal government and education, as well as the relationship between state government and education. Further, you will examine the structure of state boards, departments of education, the role of federal courts, and various federal programs that are designed to enhance student learning.

Unit 10: Excellence, Equality, and Education

In this unit, you will take both a historical and philosophical look at equality, specifically as it deals with equal opportunities in education. You will also examine the relationship between excellence in education and what constitutes superior credentials and performance.

Unit 11: Finance and Productivity

Unit 11 presents methods of school funding, developing budgets, and the correlations between expenditures and productivity. We will discuss financial trends, as well as fiscal issues to be aware of. Expenditures can be quite varied between a brick-and-mortar campus and the virtual environment. We will examine these differences and what the academic administrator needs to consider.

Unit 12: Legal Considerations and Education

Unit 12 presents information about the legal framework as it pertains to public education. This unit will examine the federal and state roles, as well as how the U.S. Constitution, state constitutions, and federal and state statutes affect personnel issues, student concerns, and tort liability.

Unit 13: Curriculum Development and Implementation

In this unit, we will learn about a program’s curriculum by first examining the four basic approaches to development and then examining the academic administrator’s role in planning and implementing the curriculum. Many argue that curriculum is the heart of education; thus, planning effective curriculum is key to a program’s success.

Unit 14: Analyzing and Improving Teaching

This unit discusses the research on effective teaching and five basic methods of analyzing teaching through individual style, interactions, characteristics, effects, and context. We will define the master teacher and examine how coaching can improve teaching.

Unit 15: Human Resources Administration

As we will discover, a vital responsibility for the academic administrator concerns human resources. We will begin with an overview of the human resource management process, which includes the recruitment, selection, and development of personnel. We will also examine performance appraisals and compensation. Finally, we will discuss union-management relations.

Unit 16: Wrap-Up and Final Considerations

This is your final unit for this course on academic administration in the virtual environment. Our final discussion will ask you to reflect on the policies and virtual organizational structure you would put in place for your college or university. The course ends as it started by looking to leadership theories to use when making administrative decisions that affect the entire school, university, and program specifically as it relates to a virtual environment.

Grading Criteria for Activities

Assignment Percentage
Discussion Contributions 10%
Essay Assignments 50%
Group Project 10%
Term Papers 30%
Total: 100%


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