Addressing Online Learning Strategically

Minnesota State and the U of M


  • Kim Lynch
  • Bob Rubinyi


strategic planning, online learning, quality, operational support, faculty development


Last year both Minnesota State and the University of Minnesota brought together task groups to formulate more strategic approaches to online learning. At Minnesota State, an Online Strategy workgroup chartered by the Leadership Council published a report titled Advancing Online Education in Minnesota State that supported four broad goals: (1) to collaborate across institutions in ways that increase (2) access to and the (3) quality of online opportunities that remain (4) affordable for students compared to other higher education providers. The workgroup also prioritized nine immediate action steps resulting in the development of a quality improvement process (QIP) site to provide a common framework to implement those actions steps and advance the state of online education throughout the systems. The University of Minnesota, through its Online Steering Committee and TeachingSupport collaborative, addressed five areas including (1) a strategic positioning statement; (2) operational support; (3) a process to evaluate the current and emerging system-wide technologies supporting online; (4) building a collaborative approach to provide resources, faculty development, and best practices for online instruction; and (5) ensuring that colleges, academic units, and campuses have guidelines for online teaching and course development. In this session, we will share the approaches we took to gather data, seek input from key stakeholders, issue recommendations, and share current status.

Author Biographies

Kim Lynch

Kim Lynch leads an innovative team that facilitates the use of technology for academic and student success across 37 colleges and universities in Minnesota. Prior to her position with the Minnesota State system, she worked for Anoka-Ramsey Community College in various roles, including Dean of STEM, Chief Information Officer for both Anoka-Ramsey and Anoka Technical College, Dean of Innovative Teaching & Learning, and teaching faculty member deeply committed to faculty development and effective online learning.


Bob Rubinyi

Bob Rubinyi serves as the Senior Analyst for Online Learning in the Center for Educational Innovation. In this capacity, he provides planning, analysis, and strategy for fully and primarily online curricular initiatives. Bob currently chairs the U of M Online Steering Committee, oversees the University’s Coursera MOOC partnership, serves on the Minnesota Learning Commons Steering Committee, and represents the University on state and national inter-institutional eLearning partnerships. Bob received his BA in Communications from the University of California, San Diego and MA and PhD in Communications (minor in educational technology) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.