The Board of Governors’ Innovation and Online Committee meet Monday in Tampa to discuss a new goal for the Florida university system. The goal is to have 40 percent of a university’s undergrad credits earned online by 2025.
“In order to accommodate the demand for higher education in an affordable, high-quality, accessible manner by 2025, there is going to have to be a greater use of online learning,” Andrew McCollough, Associate Provost for Teaching and Technology, said.
“That’s where they came up with this notion that we will be growing the credit hours online.”
Currently at UF, 26 percent of credit hours are earned online. The goal, according to Andrew McCollough, is to raise the hours earned online by 5 percent annually.
More classes will start to be offered online to help achieve this goal. General education courses will be the first to go online and more than likely in a hybrid setting, where the content is learned online and then applied in the classroom, said McCollough. To see which classes will be offered online, go to the universities student page and click on Coursesforsuccess – Online courses. Although only a few general courses are offered now, by next year the selection is hoped to be doubled.
Abyson Kalladanthyil, a first-year student at UF, welcomes the idea of online classes.
“I kind of like them. I’m pretty good at keeping up with everything,” Kalladanthyil, an information systems major, said.
Kalladanthyil, who is taking Introduction to the Professions of Medicine, likes the flexibility that online classes offer.
“It’s a lot more helpful. Plus you don’t have to get up and go to class three times a week,” he said.
A mixture of both online and traditional classroom is the best for students because it offers the best of both kinds of learning, said Alyson Adams, Associate Director of Teaching and Learning in the School of Teaching and Learning.
“You need to make sure that your courses are high-quality, it’s the right way to deliver that content for that course, and ensuring that the students are well-informed about what to do and what are the expectations,” Adams said.
At some universities, students taking distance learning and online courses means paying a distance-learning fee. This is not necessarily the case at UF.
“A distance-learning fee should be charged if there is additional cost in the development and delivery of the content,” McCollough said.
Faculty members teaching the course will decide if a distance-learning fee is necessary for that particular class. So some classes offered at UF will have extra fees and some will not.
On average the distance-learning fee at UF is $22 a credit hour, which is one of the lowest across the system.
“Online learning offers opportunities that those of us who are developing them and those of us are receiving them fully realize,” McCollough said.
“I think over time the distance-learning classroom will be as rich, in learning opportunities, as in face-to-face classroom.”