Jim Spain to oversee eLearning at MU

Monday, December 13, 2010 | 4:47 p.m. CST; updated 9:22 p.m. CST, Monday, December 13, 2010

COLUMBIA — Jim Spain will be overseeing eLearning as interim vice provost at MU, Provost Brian Foster announced Monday.

"He is an excellent administrator and has been very passionate about eLearning," Foster said.

Foster said Spain is a natural choice for the position because Spain has been involved in eLearning for three years. ELearning is an MU program designed to increase online professional development and the skills of MU educators to improve student performance.

"He will work on how instruction will be delivered in the next years," Foster said.

Foster also said the eLearning program will be realigned. This has been under discussion for two years and now, Foster said, it seems to be the right time to start because technology is growing rapidly.

"Our task now is developing a new structure for eLearning including on-campus and long-distance technologies," Foster said. "They have to be integrated at some level."

Foster also said in an MU news release that long-distance education should be integrated in campus completely because electronic communication is used in the majority of courses.

Jim Spain, who holds a doctorate in animal science, works now as MU's vice provost for undergraduate studies. He will also oversee MU Direct, the distance education marketing group and the Center for Distance and Independent Study. His appointment was effective Dec. 1.

Foster also appointed Tom Henderson, former director of MU Extension, to examine ways to restructure eLearning for the MU campus so the resources available can be used in the most effective manner possible.

"Our goal is to establish a system that continues to extend our teaching and learning programs beyond the traditional classrooms to students here on campus, across the state and around the world," said Spain in a news release.

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