DEPM 622: Module 4, Collaborations, Alliances, and Partnerships

  • Go back to the business trend that you have been following this semester on Twitter. How has this trend evolved and changed over time?

From the beginning of our course until now, I have seen a bit of an increase in public discussion of OER. It has only been 11 weeks, so major developments cannot be expected, but there have been some developments such as the money for open textbooks in the new government spending bill. There has also been a bit of movement in UMUC’s work to contribute to the OER movement.

UMUC’s free online resources were famous last week with a mention on Jeopardy!

(DrThompsonUMUC, 2018)

  • How did this module’s readings and discussions influence the development of your business case? Do you see opportunities for collaborations and partnerships in the future, either short-term or long-term?

I thought about whether there is a place for collaborations or partnerships in my business case, and I decided to stick with my idea of an initiative that is internal to UMUC for the time being. Ultimately, it will be interesting to see how collaboration/partnership is used in the OER movement. On one hand, when a single institution takes ownership of the work, then the work can be targeted specifically to that institution’s mission and the needs of its students. On the other hand, cooperation among individuals from multiple institutions might create OER that make good use of the different strengths of the different institutions. The OER could then be of higher quality for general use. And really, for subject matter that is taught in a great many institutions, it makes sense that the material would be similar. For those reasons, I do think it will make sense for multiple organizations to collaborate in the production of OER, and I will be on the lookout to see what business models are tried for such collaborations.

  • We are nearing the end of DEPM622—only three weeks left. Take a moment and assess your understanding of the business of DE. On a scale from 1 to 10 (1=not confident at all and 10=extremely confident), how would you rank your confidence in understanding the course material? How does that compare with your confidence at the start of class? What has influenced your understanding of the business of DE the most and why?

At the beginning of the course, I would rank my understanding of the business of DE at 2. Now I would rank it at 5. In terms of understanding the course material, I guess I would say around 8-9. I think I have mastered the course material at an appropriate level for the three months of exposure I have had, but I am sure that additional interactions with the material and with others, and more application would enhance my understanding.

I would not say there is one thing that has most influenced my understanding. Instead, it has been the synthesis of the course readings, the class discussions, and work on my business case. Many of the themes of the course (eg. costs of DE, globalization) overlapped with themes in other courses, but each reading, discussion, and project helps to bring a new perspective on those themes.

I think that as I continue working in DE, the understanding that I have gained from this and other courses will serve as a backdrop to help me interpret what I see and experience, and that will further increase my understanding of the business of DE.

  • Listed below are the objectives for Module 4. Were they achieved? (The last objective we will be engaging in during the last week of class.)

Evaluate the role of partnerships in distance education businesses and their effective management

This objective was met through the readings, particularly Olcott (2009), and class discussion.

Identify the diversity of political, economic and cultural factors behind the growth of off-shore campuses and the sustaining role played by DE and e-learning business models 

The first half of this objective was covered in class discussion. I am actually not sure what is meant by “the sustaining role played by DE.” (What is DE meant to be sustaining?)

Describe the roles and responsibilities of educational managers and leaders undertaking global ventures 

The professor has prompted us to discuss this by asking about the importance of front-end assessment of various cultural and other concerns. I would still like to go back and continue that aspect of the discussion.

Explain the role of social media and publishing companies in building the knowledge economy and their impact on the education industry

We had a discussion topic relating to the role of publishing companies (not so much social media companies). It seems to me that the role of publishing companies is evolving, so I am not sure how well I would be able to explain their current role – not because it was poorly covered in the course, but because I think at this point nobody really knows where publishing companies are going to land in the knowledge economy.

Present their views on future trends in consumer demand based on their environmental scans and individualized market research

This will be covered in the final week.


DrThomsponUMUC. (2018). UMUC is textbook free and famous! This question appeared on Jeopardy tonight! [Tweet]. Retrieved from

Olcott, D. (2009). Global connections to global partnerships: Navigating the changing landscape of internationalism and cross-border higher education. Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 57, 1-9. (ERIC Record EJ866276.) Retrieved from ERIC Database. Persistent link to this record (Permalink):




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