IU Trails Other State Schools In Online Education Enrollment

IU is hoping to reduce the time it take students complete degrees by making online courses availiable throughout the year

IU is working to make online education as good as traditional brick and mortar classroom offerings

Photo: John Watson

IU is working to make online education as good as traditional brick and mortar classroom offerings

The number of students at Indiana University who are enrolled in online classes is dramatically lower than the enrollment rates at other state schools.

Currently IU offers just more than 100 online degree and certificate programs, which is comparable to other state schools such as the University of Massachusetts and Penn State.

But here’s where the numbers differ. IU enrolls about 5,000 students in those programs. Penn State enrolls about 10,000 students, and Massachusetts enrolls more than 30,000 — that’s six times the students who attend IU online.

Online Education Director Judith Halstead says IU has been slow to market its online programs because it’s important to ensure the quality associated with IU is the same whether students are in a physical classroom on campus or sitting at home behind a computer screen.

“It is a different modality, it does take additional resources to develop courses from a technology stand point , to have them well designed,” she says. “We want to preserve, and we will preserve, the quality that is associated with an IU degree.”

Indiana University President Michael McRobbie announced last year a major investment in online education to address four priorities, which Halstead says her department is going to build on in the coming years. The priories are:

  1. Create online undergraduate degree programs at the regional campuses, including joint programs across campuses.
  2. Create online graduate degree programs that exist on the core campuses–IU Bloomington and IUPUI.
  3. Increase online options for core undergraduate degree requirements that most undergraduates are required to take.
  4. Create innovative online programs that include “experimental” modes of education such as MOOCs.

IU has committed $8 million for the development of online programs at campuses statewide.

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