Be the Creed: Alicia Harkless

I believe in honesty and truthfulness, without which I cannot win the respect and confidence of my fellow men.

Distance courses have been available in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering since most people owned VCRs and distance students received tape-recorded courses in the mail. Thanks to three decades of technology and COVID-19, things are much different now.

“The online education landscape has changed, and so are the people who want to take online courses,” said Alicia Harkless, acting director for the college’s Engineering Online and Continuing Education (EOL) unit.

She said that EOL helps meet the needs of busy, working engineers looking to earn a master’s degree; those looking to learn a new engineering discipline; and through the online bachelor of computer science program, even those who have some college credits but no degree. And Harkless is passionate about making this the best experience possible for both students and faculty, not only in her new role as acting director, but since she stepped onto the Auburn University campus as EOL instructional designer in 2019.

Developing online courses can include many layers, whether it’s a simple collaboration on what technology tools can be used to meet a learning objective or completely building a course using sound pedagogical techniques and online best practices, Harkless said.

As acting director, she is also responsible for managing and collaborating with the EOL team, providing internal and external stakeholders access to online credit and non-credit course offerings, and overseeing the Engineering Professional Development program.

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