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Eric Fredericksen was appointed vice president of online learning at UR on Feb. 5, an initiative led by Dean of the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and interim senior vice president for research Robert Clark.

In this new role, Fredericksen will be responsible for supporting faculty in the development of curriculum for online courses. He will also coordinate research to evaluate software and technologies that facilitate online learning. “

“My hope is to take a very collaborative approach with academic leaders across the University and a thoughtful and respectful model of support with our faculty,” Fredericksen said.
Clark emphasized the scope of online learning.

“The deployment of new technologies for online learning [is] not synonymous with ‘distance learning,’” he said. “ While technology can provide mechanisms for us to reach students far from campus, it can also be used to facilitate learning on campus for our residential students.”

Several pilot programs will explore the use of technology for online learning.

“Fredericksen’s appointment provides a mechanism for UR to coordinate and learn from efforts across campus in all of our collective schools,” Clark said. “Expansion of the effort will depend upon the outcomes of our initial pilot studies.”
Fredericksen has had extensive experience in the field, making him the perfect candidate for the position.

He has worked for UR since 2005 as associate vice provost for University Information Technology. He also works as a visiting assistant professor for educational leadership at the Warner School of Education.

Fredericksen is highly involved in online education development and has received the Sloan Award for Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Education and the EDUCAUSE Award for Systemic Progress in Teaching and Learning.

He has also taught online graduate school courses at the University of Albany, where he received his M.A. in curriculum development.

“[Fredericksen’s] background and prior experience make him a perfect choice to serve in this newly established role at [UR],” Clark said in a press release. “Effective use of technology in the classroom to facilitate online learning initiatives for residential students as well as those at a distance is an essential focus for Rochester and our peer institutions. Having leadership devoted to this endeavor is critical to providing support for faculty in this rapidly evolving domain.”

Fredericksen also has an M.B.A. from the William E. Simon School of Business Administration and a doctorate from the Warner School of Education.

The online learning domain has been expanding at UR, as illustrated by the November 2012 decision to join the Semester Online consortium of nine peer institutions exploring the use of for-credit online courses.

According to UR President Joel Seligman’s January-February article in the Rochester Review, online learning also plays a large role at the School of Nursing, where “approximately 41 percent of all nursing course credits are offered online.” These online courses account for 26 percent of the School of Nursing’s tuition revenue, or $3.9 million.

“Eric’s appointment comes at a pivotal time,” Clark added. “There are many initiatives underway on campus here and on campuses across the U.S. focused on everything from massive open online courses to custom professional degree programs. His appointment further demonstrates the University’s commitment to be a part of the national conversation in the evolution of technology for learning initiatives.”

Remus is member of the class of 2016.


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