OMDE System Map

OMDE System Map

  1. OMDE Program Requirements: When determining the OMDE program requirements one must ensure that they’re in alignment with the UMUC mission, the UMUC Office of Institutional Planning, Research, and Accountability, and the UMUC Strategic Plan.  The OMDE program requirements circle is illustrated with a cyclical arrow to demonstrate that the process is continuous, and regularly assessed and managed.
    1. UMUC Mission:  “To offer top-quality educational opportunities to adult students in Maryland, the nation, and the world, setting the global standard of excellence in adult education. By offering academic programs that are respected, accessible, and affordable, UMUC broadens the range of career opportunities available to students, improves their lives, and maximizes their economic and intellectual contributions to Maryland and the nation.” The OMDE program must align with the UMUC mission because the program exists within the UMUC system.  OMDE would not be sustainable, as it currently exists, without UMUC resources, and therefore must fit within the UMUC mold.
    2. UMUC Office of Institutional Planning, Research, and Accountability: When determining program requirements one should consult demographic information in effort to better understand the population served.  Such information will also aid with curriculum development.
    3. UMUC Strategic Plan: The 2009 – 2013 Strategic Plan outlines key strategies regarding the development of the next generation of high education students.  An emphasis is placed on technology and infrastructure improvements with the goal of increasing productivity of all interactions outside of a traditional classroom.  The Strategic Plan calls for careful consideration with the adaptation of new technologies and methodologies in distance education and makes note of the forecasted introduction of WebTycho Next Generation (NG), which will certainly impact the OMDE instruction operating activities system.
  2. OMDE Core Curriculum: As with the OMDE program requirements, the OMDE core curriculum is represented with a cyclical arrow because the core curriculum is regularly revisited and assessed according to the ever-changing world of distance education.
    1. UMUC Office of Assessment and Learning Outcomes: This longitudinal data can aid curriculum developers with information about student learning results in curriculum, course design, and program development (REF).
  3. OMDE Course Development: By taking a planned approach, each stage in the OMDE course development process results in an outcome that is a subsystem (Moore & Kearsley, 2005).
    1. Web Design: WebTycho is the sole learning management system used by UMUC, therefore WebTycho web design influences course development because the course can only provide what WebTycho can.  For example, if an instructor cannot change the conference module to better aid with class discussion.  The course is limited to the nested bulletin board style currently used.  When designing modules, instructors have the ability to use a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor and can utilize web design programs such as Dreamweaver.
    2. Blackhawk:  The interface instructors use to build courses within WebTycho.  The instructors’ ability to use Blackhawk can impact course development.
    3. Course Materials: Gathered by the instructor and given access to the student via WebTycho, course materials represent the tangible component in which the student interacts with during all steps of the learning process.
    4. OMDE Course Instructor: A component in both the curriculum and instruction operating activities, the course instructor gathers course materials, inputs the course in WebTycho via Blackhawk, and interacts with the students.

II. OMDE Student

Arguably the most important input of the OMDE system, the student is the central piece for which the system operates.  As stated above, UMUC’s mission is to provide top-notch education to adult students.   The student interactions with WebTycho, OMDE course instructors (via email, phone, conferences), and OMDE student support services.

1. Recruitment: UMUC’s ability to recruit students and instructors directly impacts the OMDE system.  Without quality instructors, the program would lose creditability and lack the stronghold it currently has on the distance education community.  Most distance education systems are economies of scale, so without students, UMUC could not financially survive.

III. Operating Activities: Instruction Subsystem

  1. WebTycho: A system within itself, WebTycho offers students and instructors alike to asynchronously interact through conferences, course content, student portfolio, reserved readings, syllabi, study groups, assignments.  In addition, WebTycho offers synchronous live chat between students and instructors for all class members logged into the WebTycho system that point in time. Web-based learning systems, such as WebTycho, serve a wider range of students more efficiently compared to a traditional classroom (Bates & Poole, 2003).
  2. Help Desk: The help desk support feature allows the student to quickly troubleshoot any technical difficulties he/she may be experiencing when interfacing with WebTycho.
  3. Student Course Performance: The outcome of the Operating Activities: Instruction system, student course performance impacts assessment, certification, and ultimately determines whether or not a student graduates from the OMDE program.
  4. OMDE Student Support Services Subsystem: Research states student support services need to be and should be wide scaled, including but not limited to informative websites, financial information, and advisors (Rekkedal, 2004).  Such support services are essential for the distance education student because of limited to no access to on-campus student services.  Therefore, UMUC must develop and implement student services online to promote time and location independent access (LaPadula, 2003).
    1. MYUMUC Subsystem: A subsystem of the OMDE Student Services subsystem, the UMUC portal to give students access to all information relevant to UMUC in effort to provide support throughout the learning process.  The student directly interacts with MYUMUC and can access the portal through the main UMUC website, WebTycho, or the Library main page.

i.     Registration

ii.     Financial

iii.     Advising

iv.     Academic Progress

    1. Library and Information Services: OMDE students have full access to the UMUC library via the online portal, document express, or the postal system.
    2. OMDE Blog: By offering students another environment to interact with relevant OMDE material, the OMDE blog can stimulate and motivate students while providing above average service to students in the learning process (Moore & Kearsley, 2005).
  1. Student Performance: As the case with the Operating Activities: Curriculum system, student performance impacts assessment, certification, and ultimately determines whether or not a student graduates from the OMDE program.  An output OMDE Student Support Services, student performance is improved due to a support system that is designed to assist the OMDE program at UMUC in serving the mission and accomplishing goals that reflect UMUC’s values and educational philosophy (Brindley, Walti & Richter, 2004)
  2. Assessment and Certification: Illustrated as a black box because unobserved processes occur with the student performance as an input and graduation as an output.
  3. Quality Assurance: Student surveys are collected at the end of each OMDE course.  The information is then applied to future course development and improvement.  The dark blue feedback loop differentiates components within the system from the outside influences (Rumble, 2006).

IV System Outputs

  1. Drop outs
  2. Failed Students
  3. Graduation

V Outside Influences

The outside influences give the system energy at all steps of the process while impacting the system as a whole (Jackson, 2005).

  1. Current DE Trends
  2. Web Development Advances
  3. Asynchrnous and Synchronous Technology Advances


Bates, A.W., & Poole, G. (2003). Effective teaching with technology in higher education: Foundations for success. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Jackson, M. C. (2000). Systems approaches to management. New York: Kluwer Academic Publishers

Moore, M.G., & Kearsley, G. (2005). Distance education: A systems view (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

LaPadula, M. (2003). A comprehensive look at online student support services. American Journal of Distance Education,17(2), 119-128.

Rekkedal, T. (2004). Internet based e-learning, pedagogy and support systems. In J. E. Brindley, C. Walti, & O. Zawacki-Richter (Eds.), Learner support in open, distance and online learning environments (pp. 71-93). Oldenburg: Bibliotheks- und Informationssystem der Universität Oldenburg.

Rumble, G. (2006). Systems thinking and its application to distance education.

University of Maryland University College Mission.  Retrieved February 20, 2009 from

University of Maryland University College Office of Evaluation and Assessment.  Retrieved February 20, 2009 from

University of Maryland University College Office of Institutional Planning, Research and Accountability Directory.  Retrieved February 20, 2009 from

University of Maryland University College Strategic Plan: 2009 – 2013.  Retrieved February 20, 2009 from