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In Looking at Distance Education as a Process: Activity-Based Opportunities for Efficiency Gains and Cost Savings

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Career Development in Engineering: From Higher Education to Industry

Tagged Division

Continuing Professional Development

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Paper Authors


Mitchell L Springer PMP, SPHR, SHRM-SCP Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering)

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Dr. Mitchell L. Springer

Dr. Springer currently serves as an Executive Director for Purdue University’s Polytechnic Institute located in West Lafayette, Indiana. He has over 35 years of theoretical and Defense industry-based practical experience from four disciplines: Software Engineering, Systems Engineering, Program Management and Human Resources. Dr. Springer possesses a significant strength in pattern recognition, analyzing and improving organizational systems. He is internationally recognized, has contributed to scholarship more than 200 books, articles, presentations, editorials and reviews on software development methodologies, management, organizational change, and program management. Dr. Springer sits on many university and community boards and advisory committees. He is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, most recently, the Purdue University, College of Technology, Equity, Inclusion and Advocacy Award. Dr. Springer is the President of the Indiana Council for Continuing Education as well as the Chair of the Continuing Professional Development Division of the American Society for Engineering Education.

Dr. Springer received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Purdue University, his MBA and Doctorate in Adult and Community Education with a Cognate in Executive Development from Ball State University. He is certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR & SHRM-SCP), in Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR), and, in civil and domestic mediation. Dr. Springer is a State of Indiana Registered domestic mediator.

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Mark T Schuver Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering)

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Mark Schuver is the Director for the Center for Professional Studies in Technology and Applied Research (ProSTAR) in the Polytechnic Institute at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He is responsible for the administration/operations of the Center with Program Management oversight of the Rolls-Royce Master of Science Degree, the Construction Management Master of Science Degree and Product Lifecycle Management Certificate Programs for working professionals. Prior to joining Purdue in 2002, Mark was employed by Caterpillar, Inc for 35 years with assignments in Product Design, Research and Development, Supplier Management, Quality Management, Logistics Management and various leadership positions. He holds an Associate Degree in Drafting Technology from North Iowa Area Community College, a BS in Business Administration and MS in Management from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Mark is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education and serves on the Executive Board of the Continuing Professional Development Division. He is also a member of College/Industry Partnerships, Engineering Technology and Graduate Studies Divisions of ASEE. Mark is a Lifetime Certified Purchasing Manager with the Institute of Supply Management (formerly NAPM).

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Distance education has been around for nearly 100 years. The manner in which we prepare our material and the manner in which we deliver our material are but two of the many process steps in the distance education process as a whole. In looking at distance education as a process, it is apparent there exists multiple seemingly related activities, where each of these many activities has one or more attendant outputs (products). In recognizing distance education as a process, we can readily evaluate each activity and set of products for efficiency and subsequent cost reduction. This ability to dissect distance education into these many process activities is critical to creating a cost effective and competitive solution for any distance education organization; especially if that organization is an independent profit/loss center within higher education. Distance education as a process, among other activities, includes an experiential understanding and continuing market-based exploration of target-rich environments, distance delivery mediums, adaptive learning, the use of predictive analytics and automated assessment software. Each of these must be bound by the requirements of the stakeholders and common objectives. Given the many activities of the distance education process are known, one can now define an efficient process, removing inefficient steps, and maximizing cost savings. These many activities can be time-phased and resource loaded for total process cost. As well, given process definition cuts across organizational (college) lines, and, cuts across current distance education profit/loss centers within said organizational lines, the opportunity exists to reapply organizational responsibility and human/capital resources in a manner that complements the distance education process as a whole for the benefit of the entire University.

Springer, M. L., & Schuver, M. T. (2017, June), In Looking at Distance Education as a Process: Activity-Based Opportunities for Efficiency Gains and Cost Savings Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28499

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