From MOOCs to “flipped” classrooms, technology has forever changed how higher education is delivered to students. In the Utah System of Higher Education, one in four students take at least one class online, and 81 degrees and certificates are offered entirely online. The University of Utah has recently developed the UOnline Initiative to help meet the demand for online courses and degrees, while providing students with flexibility and access to the newest teaching practices.
For the past year, the University of Utah has been developing the UOnline Initiative (as seen in a recent article by the Continuum, the magazine of the University of Utah). The goal is to bring more classes online to give students greater scheduling flexibility in an effort to help them complete their degrees on time, while also providing students with a better way to learn by combining technology with best teaching practices. This fall, the University will offer five new bachelor’s degrees that can be obtained solely online:
- Business Administration
- Social Work
The new degree programs will require developing 84 new online courses over the next three years. The University also expects to offer online master’s degrees in electrical and computer engineering beginning in 2017.
As an example of an effective online course, the article highlights an online class in Social Work Statistics, taught by Dr. Patrick Panos. This class features a blog where students compare notes, 10-15 minute video lectures that would be watched over and over again to help students grasp concepts, and interactive video classrooms.
The U’s online initiative also focuses on delivering hybrid courses, often referred to as “flipped classrooms,” where students can watch short videotaped lectures and review key concepts online while using class time to engage in interactive problem-solving and discussion with the professor.