UMassOnline Launches More than Ten New Blended Learning Options
Evolving Learning Solutions to Have Longer Term Global Implications; Flurry of New, All-Campus Course Offerings Leverages UMassOnline’s Regional Strength as the Largest Online Provider in Massachusetts; For UMass, a Collaborative, System-Wide ‘Best of Both Worlds’ Solution is Pioneered
SHREWSBURY, MA - Nov. 6, 2007-Fueled by a $650,000 development grant from the Sloan Foundation received last January to help expand access to the University of Massachusetts through blended learning innovations, UMassOnline today announced that in addition to five inaugural course offerings launched last month, an additional round of five more certificate, degree or professional development courses will join the portfolio this January. All five campuses in the University of Massachusetts system -- Amherst, Dartmouth, Boston, Lowell, and the Medical School in Worcester – will have one or more blended learning programs.
According to David Gray, CEO of UMassOnline, which is the online higher education consortium operating in conjunction with all the traditional campuses within the University of Massachusetts system, the new blended learning offerings achieve two unique objectives. “We set out to be among the first to define and develop learning options that acknowledge long-standing and well-known preferences among some students for at least some element of campus connection and community, and we’ve done that.”
“Secondly, we wanted to recognize and adapt our online offerings to the fact that some online students and faculty benefit tremendously when an element of face-to-face learning time is offered as part of any online course, but especially in evidence when content benefits from interaction or hands-on application. We have met this benchmark, too. The overall result is that the UMassOnline staff, our campus-based faculty, and our academic development professionals across all the campuses have achieved a ‘best of both worlds’ solution in these programs.”
The UMassOnline blended learning options which combine classroom time and online technology for courses, explained Gray, reduce average on-campus or in-classroom time by one-half to two-thirds of traditional college course work. All of the new programs, Gray said, are offered at tuition levels comparable to that of non-blended online programs offered through UMassOnline.
Overview of New Blended Learning Programs through UMassOnline
BA in Health and Human Services
Doctor of Nursing Practice
Expansion of RN to BS
Post-Baccalaureate Clinical Educator Certificate Program
B.A. in Liberal Arts Degree Completion Program
Health Management and Policy Master’s Program with Certificates in Health Informatics, Health Management, and Health Policy
UMass Worcester Graduate School of Nursing:
Nurse Educator Post-Master's Certificate Program
OBGYN Professional Development Training for Clinical Issues
Initially a Natural Connection to Region; Later, a Global Offering to Evolve
A recent study by Eduventures, the leading information services company for the education market, indicated that a majority of online students enroll with institutions that are closest to them geographically. This trend reveals a seemingly natural desire for students to affiliate with a familiar traditional campus system with a known reputation for educational excellence. UMassOnline enrollment figures reflect this pattern. UMassOnline is the largest provider of online higher education in Massachusetts.
“Since the majority of our online students live and work in close proximity to a UMass campus to which they can easily commute, the blended learning option presents an ideal way for them to benefit from some limited class time while also enjoying the benefits of course work that is predominantly accomplished online,” said Jacquie Moloney, Associate Chancellor, UMass Lowell, who was the principal investigator for the research grant leading to this past year’s funding from the Sloan Foundation. “But we believe our continuing innovations in the blended learning concept will have national and international implications for UMassOnline as we look ahead to extend and expand our global reach.”
According to Moloney, a longer-term UMassOnline vision of blended learning contemplates, among other offerings, an on-campus capstone segment for international students upon degree completion. “Students living and working in proximity to UMass campuses are not the only ones seeking connectivity to the school and those elements of our community that can only be realized by being here,” she said.
About The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a non-profit, philanthropic organization committed to supporting education and careers in science and technology. The purpose of the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) a unit of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, is to help learning organizations continually improve the quality, scale, and breadth of their online programs according to their own distinctive missions, so that education becomes a part of everyday life, accessible and affordable for anyone, anywhere, at any time, and in a wide variety of disciplines.