Described as a major strategic investment in online education, the initiative will accelerate the development and delivery of quality online courses and programs at Indiana’s campuses statewide, address Indiana’s economic and professional development needs, and extend the university’s global reach.
The IU Online education initiative will be seeded with an initial investment of $8 million over the next three years, and will be used to hire additional online instructional designers and technologists; to expand the hardware and software systems necessary to create and manage online programs on a large scale; and to fund IU’s new Office of Online Education, which will oversee and coordinate all of the university’s online activities. In addition, more than $2 million is expected to be distributed directly to academic units across all IU campuses to support the development of online programs.
“Online education has been a growing part of IU’s education programs for many years now, and IU Online is a significant new investment aimed at a major expansion of these programs in a strategic and coordinated way,” IU President Michael A. McRobbie said in Wednesday’s news release.
“With the many online programs IU already offers in a wide range of academic areas, including business, technology, social work, nursing, and public and environmental affairs; with a first-rate faculty; and with information technology systems that are recognized among the best in the world, Indiana University is extremely well-positioned and well-equipped to be a global leader in the development of high-quality online education.
“The new IU Online initiative will enable us to marshal our renowned academic and technological resources to expand existing online programs and develop new offerings that are geared toward improving student learning, encouraging greater undergraduate degree completion, strengthening the state’s workforce and reaching new populations of students in Indiana, nationally and internationally.”
IU Online will address four priorities:
- Creating undergraduate degree programs.
- Creating graduate degree and certificate programs.
- Providing online options for high-enrollment undergraduate courses.
- Exploring experimental modes of education.
Through the initiative, the campuses will also look to expand existing programs, convert current on-campus programs to online formats and establish new program offerings, while also conducting market analysis on which programs would best support the state’s economic and professional development needs.
IU Online will also focus on reducing the time it takes students to complete degree programs by making certain online courses available throughout the year and exploring the development of “massively online” undergraduate courses.
“We will bring the same energy, enthusiasm and commitment to IU Online as we devote to on-campus education, and we will work closely with faculty experts and academic administrators on all of our campuses to ensure we build on the momentum we have already established with regard to increasing student access to the quality instruction that is the hallmark of Indiana University,” McRobbie added.
At the graduate program level, every IU professional school has developed — or will begin developing — at least one online degree or certificate by fall 2013.
–Alanna Stage, @AlannaTweets