Lead: Provost and Faculty Fellow

Goal alignment: Stewardship, Integration, Learning

Member Department
Martha Potvin, lead VP & Provost, Academic Affairs
Bob Mokwa, lead Professor, Civil Engineering
Karlene Hoo Dean, Graduate School
Kim Obbink Executive Director, Extended University
Tony Campeau Associate Registrar
Marilyn Lockhart Director, Center for Faculty Excellence
Megan Bergstedt Budget Fiscal Manager, MSU Budget Office
Ron Larsen Associate Provost
David Singel Associate Provost
Chris Kearns VP, Student Success
Jerry Sheehan Chief Information Officer



Montana State currently offers on-line courses using two different registration and financial systems.  Online courses offered through the registrar’s office are administered using the same system and approach that is used for conventional face-to-face courses, which are budgeted as state-supported, base funded courses.  Online courses and online academic programs offered through Extended University (EU) are managed using an independent accounting system that originally was established to incentivize the development of self-supported graduate and undergraduate for-credit programs and a wide range of non-credit, professional development and outreach offerings. 

As part of the EU reorganization, for-credit courses and programs currently administered by EU will be moved to the MSU registrar system, whereas, non-credit outreach offerings will continue to be administered by EU and will constitute the mainstay and focus of EU’s operation along with online student support services, for which EU has developed an exemplary reputation.  A single, base-funded system managed through the Provost’s office will provide consistency and scalability to efficiently manage the anticipated growth of online courses and programs, which are key objectives in Montana State’s strategic plan.  The reorganized model will ensure that all MSU students, whether on-campus or online, are included in the university’s enrollment data and full time equivalency calculations.

Previous Meetings and Topics Discussed

The Extended University (EU) working group continues to meet biweekly, on average, after initiating the study in May 2014.  The EU working group identified multiple areas that require coordinated attention as online academic programs and associated support systems of EU are integrated and aligned with standard practices of Montana State.  Past, and ongoing, primary areas of discussion include:

  • Reporting to the Board of Regents and Commissioner of Higher Education
  • Program-specific analysis and transition planning
  • Reconfiguration of the Banner database and revisions to the computer code
  • Migration of transactional functions and online support services
  • Revenue and cost analyses
  • Communication plan

Summary of Meeting Topics

April 6, 2015

March 2, 2015

Topics Discussed: 

  • Review the Update EU Status Report and Implementation Plan (draft document attached)
  • Discuss next steps

February 19, 2015

Topics Discussed: 

  • Work on the Update EU Status Report and Implementation Plan

February 6, 2015

Topics Discussed: 

  • Review revenue distribution model — transition plan
  • Registrar strategy and optimization of personnel transitions

January 26, 2015

Topics Discussed: 

  • Proposed online course fee
    • BOR request
    • Budget
    • Review the draft timeline and schedule
    • Continue with delineation of support services for online courses and programs

January 16, 2015

Topics Discussed: 

  • Review proposed revenue distribution models
    • Summer courses
    • AY – fall/spring courses
    • Graduate School's role in admitting students into online graduate programs
    • Proposed online course fee
    • D2L support services – discuss opportunity to pilot a third-party call system
    • Status of D2L support personnel reorganization
    • Review the draft timeline and schedule
    • Continue with delineation of support services for online courses and programs

December 16, 2014

Topics Discussed: 

  • Support services for students in online courses and online programs

December 12, 2014

Topics Discussed: 

  • Critical decision points and key milestones for full implementation of the transition of undergraduate and graduate for-credit online programs and courses.
  • Discussed specific recommendations to support a timeline that considers all the major components, including:
    • Banner coding (input from the technical implementation team)
    • Personnel transition (EU and ITC)
    • Financial model — revenue and returns (AY and summer)
    • ITC support services
    • EU support services
    • Input from program directors, department heads and deans
    • Campus communication plan

Future Meetings

Upcoming meetings are tentatively scheduled for the following dates and times:

  • TBD

An approximate timeline for the primary components of the transition process is shown below, with an anticipated completion of spring semester 2016.