CRITICAL FACETS OF ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT FOR ONLINE TEACHING
The Sloan-C Consortium study in 2010 found that 22 million students will take courses online within the next five years, illustrating the exponential growth of this form of higher education. With this increased growth, 81% of all institutions of higher education offer at least one fully online or blended course while complete online degree programs are offered by 34 percent of the institutions. Perhaps most telling, when asked about the role of online education for the future, 63% percent of Chief Academic Officers and 67% of faculty members answered that it is a critical long-term strategy for their institution. When administrators make decisions about the infrastructure support needs of a current or planned online program, these decisions are often based on external expert advice rather than on the advice of experienced online faculty. Online teaching faculty are the best source of advice and information on what works and what does not. Institutional support for online faculty is a key component to faculty satisfaction and success; specifically, for faculty to be successful in online education, higher learning institutions must take into account the wants, needs, interests and aspirations of those faculty so that they can enhance development of online learning, educational models and techniques. They are the best source of information regarding the critical components for technical support, necessary equipment, maintaining an ongoing interface with the geographically distant campus and ever-expanding mission of the primary institution. Clearly, administrative support is foundational to the success of any online program.