Saturday, June 23, 2018
Education

Online-only university among Florida's options for more distance education

TALLAHASSEE — Florida's 12th university became a reality earlier this year, and there is already discussion about whether the state needs a 13th.

House Speaker Will Weatherford challenged the board governing state universities to look into creating an online-only school in order to increase access to distance education. And Monday, the Board of Governors received the results of an independent study on the topic and discussed next steps.

Conducted by The Parthenon Group, the report outlines four options for Florida's universities and colleges, both public and private.

The first allows each school to continue operating its own distance education program, represented the status quo, and it got the least amount of support from the Board of Governors' Strategic Planning Committee.

The second and third options — systemwide collaboration or allowing one or more institutions to serve as the lead drivers of new programs — got a more positive response. The committee asked staff to research a hybrid of these two choices ahead of next month's full board meeting.

Board of Governors Chairman Dean Colson said he would like to have the state colleges and universities submit proposals to serve as lead institutions in order to create a sense of innovation and competition.

"We want to give them a prod," he said.

The board also decided to keep option four, a standalone online institution, on the table. But in a written response to the Parthenon report, state university provosts said they have "serious concerns" about creating a new university, such as the cost, competition with existing programs, establishing accreditation and creating another bureaucracy.

Forty percent of students attending a state university or state college took at least one online course during the 2010-2011 academic year. That is above the national average, 31 percent.

Members agreed that there needs to be more data on existing programs and their outcomes to determine which types of online-based courses create the most student success and which programs are most efficient.

And they agree that more should be done to market the distance education already taking place in Florida, especially because out-of-state schools are recruiting students for online programs.

"I believe if we market together and develop the right marketing plan, it will far surpass any individual institution's marketing plan," said Randy Hanna, chancellor of the Florida College System.

Board members made it clear that they want to control their own destiny when it comes to whether the state needs another state university.

State University System Chancellor Frank Brogan said the board should take its time. But board member Manoj Chopra, a faculty representative, said lawmakers could step in and force their hand.

"I'm a little worried if the choice will be made for us by then," Chopra said, possibly referring to how Florida Polytechnic, the state's 12th university, was fast-tracked into existence this year by the Legislature.

Tia Mitchell can be reached at [email protected] or (850) 224-7263.

Comments
First step for Hillsborough schools facing biggest challenges: Hire more teachers

First step for Hillsborough schools facing biggest challenges: Hire more teachers

TAMPA — As chief of diversity for the Hillsborough County School District, Minerva Spanner-Morrow tries to keep her expectations realistic."We want the best of the best and I know that’s very difficult," she told principals last week as they prepared...
Published: 06/23/18
Hernando school officials set to discuss replacement, sever ties after firing Superintendent Lori Romano

Hernando school officials set to discuss replacement, sever ties after firing Superintendent Lori Romano

BROOKSVILLE — With dust still settling from the Hernando County School Board’s close vote to fire Superintendent Lori Romano — and days before her time as head of the district runs out — school officials and community members seem to be already movin...
Published: 06/20/18
Hernando students score slightly better on state tests

Hernando students score slightly better on state tests

BROOKSVILLE — As schools and districts across the state await their 2018 grades from the Florida Department of Education, the standardized test scores that factor into those ratings and were dropped last week show slight gains in Hernando County.The ...
Published: 06/20/18
Budget analysis projects deficit, deepened by security costs, for Pasco schools in coming year

Budget analysis projects deficit, deepened by security costs, for Pasco schools in coming year

An early analysis of the Pasco County School District’s 2018-2019 budget projects a deficit of more than a million dollars, with more than half of that coming from a shortfall in funding new school safety requirements.Costs to hire and train 53 new s...
Published: 06/20/18
New dorm still coming to USF St. Petersburg, but in a smaller package

New dorm still coming to USF St. Petersburg, but in a smaller package

ST. PETERSBURG — Originally pitched as a nine- or 10-story, 550-bed dorm for the overcrowded University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus, USF’s latest residence hall project will likely look much different by the time it’s done.For starters, it...
Published: 06/20/18
Carlton: From Sun Dome to Beer Stadium: Don’t let suds scare you

Carlton: From Sun Dome to Beer Stadium: Don’t let suds scare you

Am I missing something in the — pardon the expression — brouhaha over the renaming of the University of South Florida Sun Dome to the Yuengling Center? In trading a college arena’s longtime name for that of a big-name beer brewed ne...
Published: 06/20/18

Hillsborough school district will pursue two kinds of local taxes

TAMPA — Hillsborough County School District officials took an important step Tuesday toward asking the voters to pay higher taxes for schools that, they say, are not getting enough money from the state.The board voted 5-0 to submit a tax referendum r...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
STEM camp beats the summer doldrums for some Pasco students

STEM camp beats the summer doldrums for some Pasco students

DADE CITY —Just a few weeks into summer vacation, Pasco Middle School student Jade Neal, 14, was back at school, delving into a challenging STEM activity on force in motion, as the theme to Mission Impossible played in the background.The assignment? ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Ethan Hooper steps up with a salute to teachers

Ethan Hooper steps up with a salute to teachers

Editor’s note: Ethan Hooper wrote today’s column to give Ernest Hooper Father’s Day off.In May, I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in elementary education, and I recently secured a job as a first-grade teacher with Orang...
Published: 06/18/18
AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events - and critics are furious

AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events - and critics are furious

Since 2002, the AP World History course has covered thousands of years of human activity around the planet, starting 10,000 years back. But now the College Board, which owns the Advanced Placement program, wants to cut out most of that history and st...
Published: 06/16/18