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Higher Ed Publications and Publishing Uninformed Opinions

Higher Ed Publications and Publishing Uninformed Opinions

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In Monday’s Inside Higher Ed, regular contributor Joshua Kim calls out the online publication’s editors for allowing the publication of an op-ed titled “Generals Die in Bed,” written by Jeff Kolnick, a professor of history at Southwest Minnesota State University. Dr. Kim, Director of Online Programs and Strategy at Dartmouth’s Center for the Advancement of Learning (and co-author of Learning Innovation and the Future of Higher Education, which I recently reviewed), states that he does not disagree with Dr. Kolnick’s concerns about the health risks of face-to-face instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a matter of fact, Dr. Kim shares the same concerns.

In a strongly worded rebuttal, Dr. Kim takes issue with Dr. Kolnick’s statements, presented as fact, that synchronous online teaching is the best kind. He points out that Dr. Kolnick’s statements do not agree with years of research that have demonstrated no differences in learning between modes of online learning or face-to-face learning.

Our experience at APUS seeking constant improvement in our online courses relies on organizations like the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), which has a mission to provide accurate research defining best practices for online teaching and student learning outcomes. Thousands of academics have attended its conferences over the past two decades and are more than aware of the solid research rebutting Dr. Kolnick’s claims.

Dr. Kim further adds that synchronous online learning has only been proven to be effective when it’s integrated with a broader design of asynchronous activities. He adds that Inside Higher Ed editors should consider the expertise of those who submit op-eds before agreeing to publish them.

I agree with Dr. Kim. Furthermore, after our two decades of teaching history and many other degree programs asynchronously online, APUS will gladly connect Dr. Kolnick to AMU and APU graduates who have successfully completed residential Ph.D. programs and cited the instruction that they received at AMU/APU as the basis for their success.

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Wally Boston Dr. Wallace E. Boston was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of American Public University System (APUS) and its parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) in July 2004. He joined APUS as its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2002. In July 2016, he retired as APUS president and continued as CEO of APEI. In September 2017, he was reappointed APUS president after the resignation of Dr. Karan Powell. In September 2019, Angela Selden was named CEO of APEI, succeeding Dr. Boston who will remain APUS president until his planned retirement in June 2020. Dr. Boston guided APUS through its successful initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2006 and ten-year reaccreditation in 2011. In November 2007, he led APEI to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange. During his tenure, APUS grew to over 100,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 90,000 alumni. In addition to his service as a board member of APUS and APEI, Dr. Boston is a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), a member of the Board of Overseers of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, a board member of the Presidents’ Forum, and a board member of Hondros College of Nursing and Fidelis, Inc. He has authored and co-authored papers on the topic of online post-secondary student retention, and is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology on higher education. Dr. Boston is a past Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the McDonogh School, a private K-12 school in Baltimore. In his career prior to APEI and APUS, Dr. Boston served as either CFO, COO, or CEO of Meridian Healthcare, Manor Healthcare, Neighborcare Pharmacies, and Sun Healthcare Group. Dr. Boston is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He earned an A.B. degree in History from Duke University, an MBA in Marketing and Accounting from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In 2008, the Board of Trustees of APUS awarded him a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, and, in April 2017, also bestowed him with the title President Emeritus. Dr. Boston lives in Owings Mills, MD with his wife Sharon and their two daughters.

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