What is the Hub Online Program (OPM) Management Function and Why Does it Matter

While we have extensive experience in online spaces, and are experts in the conversations that must happen when developing program proposals and business plans we recognize that all of the expertise does not reside here with us alone.
Jess Know

To support the start up of new online programs at MSU, the Hub’s Online Program Management team provides free intermediary and consulting services to support the design, development, and sustainability of online/blended academic programs. Our services are focused on the following areas:

  1. Program Planning and Portfolio Management
    1. Financial analysis
    2. Market research 
  2. Program design & curricular approval assistance
  3. Strategic sourcing of services
    1. Internal to MSU via service providers like MSU IT
    2. Via partnership with Online Program Management vendors such as Bisk and Wiley

Faculty own the curriculum of the programs they offer, and departments and colleges are responsible for administration and management, so the consulting offered is collaborative with academic units.  We seek to help MSU develop quality programs for students that are well-aligned with opportunities and institutional capacity. This service helps ensure a comprehensive approach to program (re)design and (re)development. 

Successful online programs require attention to sound financial planning practices and processes, should be based on effective internal and external market analyses, strong learning design, and commitment to student success. 

More detail on how we can help

The Hub provides early and mid-stage consulting for emerging programs and program re-designs, using an inquiry-based approach. This means that we’ll work to help identify departmental and program goals, definitions of success and how it might be measured, and assistance with market research and market research resources. This collaboration will help:

  • Consider existing program support structures and identify strategies for both student and financial planning and success
  • Develop assessment plans for benchmarking and strategic growth
  • Identify gaps in the existing landscape that a program could fill
  • Identify and connect with similar projects and corresponding people both inside and outside of MSU
  • Identify opportunities for innovation and refreshment of course and program design strategies
  • Understand new opportunities in the program space
  • Find efficiencies and cost savings

Financial Planning

Sound financial planning enables transparency and accountability, pricing conversations, and support for how to finance costs that exceed a unit’s capacity: 

  • Online program budgeting
  • Support with financial reporting tools
  • Understanding online tuition revenue
  • Cost estimates for program redesign
  • Cost estimates for instructional design
  • Cost estimates for new program development
  • Program planning (from a financial perspective)
  • Understanding of state and federal rules and regulations for online vs. face-to-face instruction

Marketing and Marketing Research

In collaboration with MSU Communications and Brand Strategy, departmental communications teams, and a catalog of trusted partners who can help maximize market share, the Hub can help figure out how to:

  • Access MSU marketing portals and outlets
  • Write and edit copy that makes a program stand out
  • Identify new and effective avenues for marketing and student recruitment
  • Plan for and drive competitive market analyses
  • Develop programmatic needs and opportunity assessments

Program Design & Curricular Approval

The Hub OPM team can help articulate design questions with you for the Hub’s design studio to pursue, giving you insights into your audience. The Hub can apply this design experience in prototyping learning experiences and curriculum plans.:

  • Basic program and course design (and re-design) storyboards, wireframes and content strategies
  • Guidance regarding quality measurement and review structures
  • Developing a production plan and timeline
  • Scheduling a march through approval stage gates with multiple levels of curriculum committees and administrative stakeholders, including OPB and Provost

Strategic Sourcing of Services

The Hub OPM team maintains university level contractural partnerships that can help academic units add capacity and proven business processes needed to launch a program. Staffing augmentation, paid services, and capital outlay can all be obtained for new programs via Online Program Management vendors. The Hub can apply lessons learned from past program launches to help you select the right partner and negotiate the terms of service:

  • How to liaison with MSU IT and secure their production services
  • Negotiating per-program capital outlay for startup costs
  • Negotiating revenue sharing or fee-for-service with OPM partners/vendors
  • Deciding what to build or buy (examples)
    • Instructional Design
    • Video Production
    • Enrollment Management
    • Student Recruitment
    • Academic Advising

Why Does This OPM Management Service Matter?

We at the Hub are here to be deeply knowledgeable about current and historical online needs, landscapes, and opportunities. However, while we have extensive experience in online spaces, and are expert in the conversations that must happen when developing program proposals and business plans we recognize that all of the expertise needed to launch successful experiences does not reside here with us alone. We rely on you, MSU: your brains, your perspectives, your needs and your goals. We want to work with you to meet them, and inform ourselves and the world what we Spartans already know to be true about how truly transformative an education here can be. We also know how to work with external partners to ensure that the outcomes established are the best for not only MSU but your program and the students enrolled. We have found that partnerships can help load balance the in-depth expertise required when designing and developing digital learning opportunities, ranging from the technical to the humanistic. 

So, that’s us. Next up in our “why does it matter” series: online market opportunities. Perhaps the most valuable thing our external partners can offer us is help with in-depth market research. A recent event held here at the Hub gave us an opportunity to get some insights into directions we might go, and ways we might get there. We’ll recap what we learned, and talk about why it matters – stay tuned!