A review of online classes offered b George Washington university revealed online courses had a general lack of supervision and poorly constructed courses
Following a lawsuit filed by four students in April 2016 claiming that the quality of instruction on their online master’s degree courses was severely lacking, George Washington University assembled a task force.
Although the lawsuit was dismissed, the Faculty Senate task force was prompted to thoroughly investigate the difference between exclusively online, hybrid online-offline, and on-campus courses were being conducted at the university.
Kurt Darr, professor emeritus of hospital administration and chairman of the task force, said of the investigation that he believed the university had offered online courses too quickly and without sufficient monitoring in place.
Charles Garris, chairman of the Faculty Senate’s Executive Committee, mentioned in the subsequent report that the removal of the role of vice provosot for online education made monitoring of online programs difficult.
“By eliminating that position, we were afraid that there was very little to no coordination between the programs,” Garris said.
Investigative report reveals shortcomings and recommended solutions
The report issued by the task force made a total of 15 recommendations as to how to improve online education at George Washington University, including that the university make an “in-depth analysis of best practice from other universities”.
The report also revealed that there was no “master list” of online programs offered, or guidelines specifying how online courses should be monitored or approved.
Online courses were discovered to have a severely unbalanced student-faculty ratio, one of the complaints stated in the lawsuit by the four students.
Roughly 220 students (doctor of engineering and Ph.D. students) were found to be monitored by just 20 part-time faculty members and 2 full-time faculty members.
Forrest Maltzman, executive vice president of academic affairs stated of GW University’s future in online education: “My expectation is that all of our programs, regardless of learning modality, meet a high standard of quality. I expect everybody to make that a top priority.”