Annual Impact Report 2018-2019 The Center for Online Learning, Research & Service at the University of Illinois Springfield

Our Mission

The Center for Online Learning, Research and Service strives to empower UIS faculty in the delivery of online education, support original scholarly research, build synergies between research and online education practices, and build online collaborations.

UIS Online: An integral part of the UIS Community

  • 2,104 students enrolled in online programs.
  • 4,411 students (80%) took at least one online course.
  • 2,474 students had fully online schedules.
  • 54% of class sections were delivered online.
  • 48 states represented by online students.
  • 15 countries represented by online students.

World Class Teaching

As part of our mission to provide UIS students with a premier educational experience, COLRS:

  • develops and supports faculty in delivering high-quality online and blended teaching.
  • provides customized professional development for departments and colleges.
  • reviews technology solutions to support online and blended learning, provides recommendations, and offers training and support on adopted solutions.

Annual Highlights

Over 25 faculty members attended the COLRS Fall Open House to learn how COLRS supports faculty.

In collaboration with the Provost’s Office, COLRS provided in-person training to all new faculty at the Teaching & Learning Academy.

Through the Faculty Development Office, COLRS offered professional development workshops and faculty conversations on many topics:

  • accessibility (workshop series)
  • inspirational ideas/innovation showcase
  • quality assurance
  • experiential learning
  • artificial intelligence
  • open educational resources
  • designing for academic integrity
  • best practices for face-to-face teaching
  • tackling diversity
  • developing grading rubrics
  • blockchain research
  • applying broadcast skills to online instruction
  • tips for gearing up for the new semester

In October, COLRS delivered a three-day professional development workshop on "Digital Accessibility for Educators."

COLRS provided faculty with a searchable Teaching Tips blog for on-demand access to teaching support and pedagogical resources.

COLRS supported the adoption of two new educational tools: Equatio (supporting Mathematics and Science) and Respondus Monitor (supporting academic integrity during low-stakes assessment).

COLRS revised and facilitated the Building Digital Community self-paced course for faculty and staff. During the year, 84 faculty and staff successfully completed the course.

UIS faculty and staff enhanced their online education skills by completing courses offered by the Illinois Online Network, a unit of COLRS.

UIS ranked #33 for Best Online Bachelor's Programs and #33 for Best Online Master's in Business by US News & World Report. UIS was honored with several other awards and recognition for its leadership in online education.

Personal Attention

As part of our mission to provide UIS students with a premier educational experience, COLRS offers personalized consultation with faculty to develop curriculum that is intentional, efficient, relevant, and responsive to the development of students.

Annual Highlights

COLRS provided peer review of online course design for faculty and guided them through instructional design improvements.

COLRS provided technological consultation and support for the creation of digital course content. COLRS eLearning Specialists Emily Boles and Carrie Levin supported many faculty in creating videos using the lightboard, shaky hand, and green screen studios.

COLRS assisted Dr. Jennifer Martin, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education, in producing her podcast, eduCATE: Caring Activist Teachers for Equity.

To meet the needs of a diverse student body, COLRS supported faculty in creating and using accessible materials for online and on-campus courses through one-on-one and departmental consultations, workshops and training.

COLRS Campus Accessibility Specialist Vance Martin led the effort to review 65 online courses for accessibility and to remediate 1,225 digital files.

COLRS promoted affordability through the Open Education Resources (OER) Fellows program that encouraged faculty to select and use content that is openly available to eliminate students' textbook costs.

COLRS and the OER Fellows shared their experiences at two regional conferences: the Annual Conference of the Illinois Council on Continuing Higher Education Annual and the Faculty Summer Institute.

Experienced Engaged

As part of our mission to provide UIS students with a premier educational experience, COLRS aims to provide faculty, staff, and students with engaged experiences.

Annual Highlights

Through the Faculty Fellows Program, COLRS invested in the ongoing development of faculty to integrate teaching, scholarship and outreach activities. Nine UIS Faculty participated in the Faculty Fellows Program during the year: Egbe Egiebor (Public Health), Carol Jessup (Accountancy), Layne Morsch (Chemistry), Laurel Newman (Center for Academic Success), Kimberly Wiley (Public Administration), Josiah Alamu (Public Health), Donna Bussell (English), Youngjin Kang (Human Services), and Mohammed Mohi Uddin (Accountancy).

COLRS hosted a Visiting Research Assistant Professor who collaborated with faculty on research projects.

COLRS Workforce Instructional Integration Specialist Tammy Craig's involvement on the Student Technology Arts & Research Symposium planning committee promoted online students’ involvement in learning beyond the classroom.

As part of National Distance Learning Week, COLRS created a challenge aimed to increase online students’ awareness about UIS academic and professional development resources, services, experiential opportunities, and financial savings perks.

COLRS oversaw a team of student workers who developed valuable office and technical skills, including the creating, editing, and remediating digital content.

COLRS collaborated with Online Program Coordinators to create an online orientation course for incoming online students.

COLRS staff members participated in their own engaged experiences which included the University of Illinois Academic Professional Leadership Program, consultations at other higher education institutions, working with the IBAAN School in Mexico City, and participation in campus organizations such as SafeZone and the Discovery Partners Institute.

Liberal Art Skilled

As part of our mission to provide UIS students with a premier educational experience, COLRS is actively engaged in collaborations, outreach, and innovations to integrate liberal art skills.

Annual Highlights

COLRS staff published 27 research articles or chapters in several outlets including Online Learning Journal, Technology Leadership for Innovation in Higher Education, Ensuring Quality and Integrity in Online Learning Programs, Handbook of Distance Education, Evollution, Best of Teaching Professor Conference, Distance Teaching & Learning Conference Proceedings, and Virtually Inspired. UIS Associate Vice Chancellor for Online Learning Ray Schroeder published a regular column for Inside Higher Ed.

COLRS staff were interviewed for over a dozen news articles and publications including The Chronicle of Higher Education, IBL News, Inside Higher Ed, and The Leading Learning Podcast.

COLRS staff delivered 44 presentations which included the Online Learning Consortium Accelerate Conference, Teaching Professor Conference, Association of Illinois Real Estate Educators, IMS Global Learning Consortium, UPCEA Regional Conferences, Growing Online Learning Conference, Teaching with Technology Conference, Illinois Council of Continuing Higher Education Annual Conference, Faculty Summer Institute, Academic Impressions, Midwest Regional Association of Developmental Education, and Distance Teaching & Learning Conference.

Presentations were delivered at other institutions of higher education including Grand Valley State University, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Indiana University, Richland Community College, Kaskaskia College, Harper College, St. Louis Christian College, Southwestern Illinois College, Lewis & Clark Community College, University of North Texas, Georgia College & State University, and Southeast Missouri State University.

COLRS Executive Director Vickie Cook organized a conversation for online learning professionals on the emerging topic of microcredentialing. Over forty online learning professionals attended the web conversation.

COLRS Associate Director Michele Gribbins and Mathematics Associate Professor Tung Nguyun interviewed UIS faculty to uncover best practices for using online video proctoring to improve the integrity of testing in online classes.

COLRS staff served the online learning profession, often in leadership roles: National Council for Online Education, Illinois Secretary of State Literacy Grant Advisory Board, Illinois Council on Continuing Higher Education (Treasurer & Membership Chairs), Microsoft-ATHENS, Faculty Summer Institute (Exhibitors & Sponsors Committee Co-Chair), Collaborative Higher Education Research Group, UPCEA Online Administration Network (Vice Chair for Annual Conference & Special Events), UPCEA Annual Conference Advisory, UPCEA Central Region Conference Planning, and the EU GDPR Distance Learning Working Group (Co-Chair).

COLRS staff served the University in multiple capacities:

  • University of Illinois System Committees: University of Illinois System Online Management & Planning Team, University of Illinois System Online Educational Research Collaborative (Chair), Discovery Partner Institution & Illinois Innovation Network (Education & Workforce Committee Co-Chair)
  • UIS Committees: Academic Professional Advisory Council (Chair), Chancellor's Academic Professional Excellence Award, Institutional Research Board, Institutional Research Group, Institutional Data Advisory Group, Academic Technology, EAB Student Success Collaborative Analytics Project Team, and the Institutional Data Users Group
  • UIS Search Committees: College of Business & Management Dean, Education Leadership Associate/Full Professor (Chair), Director of Peoria Center (Chair), Online Advisor Business Administration, Senior Data Analyst, Librarian, and COLRS Extra Help Technical

COLRS Information Technology Technical Associate John Freml was recognized with the Past Presidents' Award for his work as Membership Chair for the Illinois Council on Continuing Higher Education.

COLRS staff completed peer reviews for many scholarly publications and conferences: Online Learning Journal (Editorial Review Board), International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching, Marriage and Family Review, Electronic Journal of E-Learning, Educational Researcher, A Journal of the International Christian Community for Teacher Ed, UPCEA Summit for Online Leadership & Administration + Roundtable, and the Americas Conference on Information Systems.

Contact COLRS

University of Illinois Springfield

1 University Plaza, MS-BRK 425, Springfield, IL 62703



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