Views of University Administrators on the Outsourcing of Online Education
Abstract: This paper details the findings of a case study conducted at a 4-year private university in the United States that outsourced online learning through university-industry partnerships. The case study was conducted to reveal university administrators’ views on (a) working with online program management providers (OPMs) to design, deliver, and implement online learning and (b) how online learning became an institutional practice. The study findings indicated that the university’s culture of innovation resulting from institutional support in the form of governances, grants, and services led to university administrators’ decision to outsource. The study findings also indicated that university administrators did not trust OPMs because the OPMs did not meet university administrators’ expectations. University administrators expected OPM staff to (a) have advanced degrees and experience working in higher education, (b) understand the academic discipline for the program they were supporting, and (c) understand higher education practices and policies. Lastly, the study findings revealed that decision-making is an essential process to promote trust and reduce conflicting expectations.