Skip to main content

Online Program Managers in Higher Education: The Role of Academic Libraries

ACRL online learning logo

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Eastern
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Central
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Mountain
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Pacific

This session will explore how the work of academic libraries is changing because of institutional partnerships with online program managers (OPMs). The presenters will provide background information on OPMs in higher education, including the history and background of OPMs, the ongoing legal and ethical challenges surrounding OPMs, and the long-term stability of these companies. Next, there will be a discussion of current and future roles of libraries, particularly how libraries integrate into course management systems for programs run by OPMs, how the campus infrastructure can impact how librarians are able to sustainably work with these programs, the importance of creating content that is evergreen, and concerns around copyright.  Lastly, we will spend time talking about equity and sustainability with OPMs. Specifically, what equity looks like for libraries working with OPMs, and how, even though we do not have strict accrediting bodies, we have professional standards we adhere to when developing services. We will also consider how sustainability is about more than creating evergreen content; it’s also about understanding how the business models of OPMs are less transparent and, therefore, how we work with them demands different communication channels to be developed.

This session offers a chance to understand the immediate challenges of working with OPMs. It will also provide guidance on how to plan for the opportunities ahead. The forward-thinking approaches presented will appeal to innovators, change-makers, business-minded directors, culture-change advocates, and those concerned about sustainability in libraries. 

Learning Outcomes

  • Recognize the changing role of Online Program Managers in higher education in order to have informed discussions. 
  • Discuss the continuum of library engagement with Online Program Managers in order to select a level appropriate for an individual institution.  
  • Predict sustainability issues in staffing and content creation in order to create sustainable practices. 


Michelle Price, M.L.S., M.A., is the Sciences, Health Sciences and Special Collections Librarian at Lavery Library, St. John Fisher University, in Rochester, New York.  She completed a Master’s in Library and Information Science from SUNY Buffalo and a Master’s in Secondary Education from Southeast Missouri State University. She instructs students at the Wegmans School of Pharmacy and the Wegmans School of Nursing on effective literature searches including the creation of evidence syntheses like systematic, scoping, and integrative reviews. Ms. Price manages three programs that have curriculum-integrated library interventions for both on-the-ground and online pathways, reaching 100% of the student population in all programs an average of four separate times.     

Christina Hillman, MLS, is the Assessment and Online Program Librarian at Lavery Library, St. John Fisher University, in Rochester, New York. She has a Master’s in Library and Information Science from SUNY Buffalo. In addition to coordinating library assessment, she provides administrative and instructional support to librarians teaching online. Ms. Hillman has presented both synchronously and asynchronously at national conferences on distance education and library services, including with the campus Director of the Teaching and Learning Center. 

Target Audience

Core Audience:

  • Online/Distance Education Librarians 
  • Instruction Coordinators
  • Instruction Librarians 
  • Library Directors/Assistant/Associate Directors

Secondary Audience:

  • LIS Faculty
  • Academic Library Department Heads 
  • All Academic Librarians


Pricing is listed to the right on this page. To register, use the register button to checkout. You can register a group by specifying the number of people who will be accessing the webinar during checkout. If you are an ACRL member, you can purchase seats for yourself and your colleagues at the ACRL discount rate.

Number of SeatsDiscount
10+If you are registering 10 or more individuals for a webcast, please email for special discounted pricing. 

Tech Requirements

ACRL Webinars are held in Zoom. Speakers or a headset for listening to the presentation are required. You may interact with the presenter and ask questions through text-based chat. Closed captioning is available in the Zoom platform. The webinars will be recorded and the link to the recording shared shortly after the live events,


If you have questions or need to make arrangements for additional assistance or accessibility, please contact Margot Conahan (