Over many years as a student and as an educator I have had the privilege of working under the leadership of truly gifted administrators in education. At the present time I have the privilege of working with some very gifted administrators, in an advisory capacity, who are excited about the potential that online education has for students now and in the future.
Reflecting on the qualities that online administrators should have has led me to suggest the following assessment:
- Online administrators should be totally in synch with the vision of where virtual education should be taking us. If they are in synch, then they should be totally comfortable working within such an environment. There is a caveat here in the realization that the skill set that administrators possess in the brick and mortar school may not be totally transferable or even relevant to the online environment. What this means is that the online administrator must be prepared to step out of his or her comfort zone and adapt to a new set of skill requirements. Just as virtual education is not for all students, it is not for all administrators. The determination for this rests on a number of factors such as level of adaptability to changing technology, personal career ambitions and leadership style. It requires administrators to be brutally honest with themselves.
- Online administrators should be online leaders. They should be willing to help co- develop professional online communities that will serve as vital link for their staff to other professional teachers on a global level. They should encourage their staff to participate in collaborative projects as hosts or to participate with hosts based in other countries. They should demonstrate how to channel the use of social media into productive areas that enhance education for staff and students.
- Online administrators, like teachers, should be explorers. They should be willing to explore developing technologies, such as the creating of immersive virtual worlds , that can be embedded into various curriculum courses.
- Online administrators should be aware of standards of assessment. With online education that is global in nature, there is a great opportunity of being able to measure your assessment standards with those in other countries around the world and ask the question:"How do we measure up?" Is it possible to come up with hybrid assessment standards that are more closely synched to international standards? Is it possible to incorporate the use of professionals on the leading edge of the world disciplines as co-assessors on student projects across the curriculum?
- Are online administrators able to "kick the habit"? Are they willing and able to divest the online education system of the "industrial model" of education and work towards developing a model of online education that will focus on students producing new knowledge and skills that will enrich societies? Are they willing to help put "life-long learning" into perspective by promoting the mentoring of communities in online forums? Are they willing to help spearhead accessibility to online education as partners with other agencies in parts of the world where this is a problem?
Just as a side note, I am still upgrading this blog and yes, I am adaptable;)