Courtesy of UR Communications

UR has partnered with nine other peer institutions to establish a consortium exploring a new, for-credit, online course program called Semester Online. This consortium is working with 2U, an educational technology company that works with universities to develop online degree programs.

Semester Online offers students access to an array of courses taught by professors from some of the country’s most prestigious colleges and universities and the opportunity to participate in rigorous research programs.

“As a leading research university, UR has a responsibility to shape and define the use of technology and to enrich the academic experience for our students,” Robert Clark, dean of the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Science and interim senior vice president for research, said in a statement. “This partnership allows us to explore the creation of online learning initiatives with peer institutions that share our mission of delivering education of the highest quality.”

For the past several months, a UR task force led by Clark has been looking at the current and future use of technology and digital media in the classroom, from traditional, to web-facilitated, to entirely online courses.

“UR’s interest in online education rests in how it can leverage technology to build connectivity between students and faculty and how it can develop and enhance the educational experience broadly,” Clark said.

Music Professor John Covach thinks Semester Online will greatly benefit UR students.

“Online courses are in the future of higher education,” he said. “It’s better for UR to be involved and get options about online education now instead of being behind other schools across the country.”

He added that UR wants “a lot more investment in quality and to make sure the courses that are offered online are good, if not better than other general online courses that are offered.”

One of the benefits the Semester Online program touts is that students studying abroad who need to fulfill requirements for their major, minor or cluster will be able to do so online while they are abroad.

Freshman Trevor Lyness cited this feature as a major selling point.

“I will definitely take advantage of this program, especially if I go abroad,” he said.

Freshman Angelika Kropiowsko also endorsed the program.

“If the classes are good, I think this will work out well,” she said.

Information about applying for the Semester Online program is expected to be available in early 2013.

The Semester Online consortium also includes Brandeis University, Duke University, Emory University, Northwestern University, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Notre Dame, Vanderbilt University, Wake Forest University and Washington University in St. Louis.

Teitelman is a member of the class of 2016.



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