Two colleagues and I just finished an external evaluation of a universityʼs online MA in education and MEd programs. The programs are stellar, the students are engaged, and the faculty are thoughtful. Their graduation rates are above 90% and their students do important work, evidenced in part by the number of theses that are subsequently published and the number of projects that seek to make meaningful contributions to practice. The programs do many things right.

You have to look inside to get a clear view of what is happening
The photo is of Georgetown University, and has no relationship to the program evaluated


Their outcomes contradict the opinion that online learning is solitary and lacks inclusion. Rather – and despite the fact that these programs are thriving – they face institutional obstacles that prevent them from doing better, that preclude them from further expanding equity and quality. We have a few recommendations for improvement, including suggestions for course design, evaluation, assessment, and enrolment, and Iʼm looking forward to following their work in the future. Being able to examine degree programs in depth and interview faculty, staff, administrators, and students is a worthwhile experience in its own right.

This program is a single case, and by no means an accurate reflection of online programs in general. However, the more I do these evaluations the more I see online learning curtailed not just by forces external to the institution, but also by recurring internal barriers that staff, faculty, and administrators can address.