UNC in Group Offering Online For-Credit Undergrad Courses

Posted Nov. 15, 2012
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UNC in Group Offering Online For-Credit Undergrad Courses

Carolina has joined a consortium of leading universities to announce a new program that will offer online courses for undergraduate students.

Called Semester Online, the program is the first of its kind program to offer online, for-credit undergraduate courses through a consortium of top-tier universities. UNC is the only public university in the group. The others are Duke, Wake Forest, Brandeis, Emory, Northwestern, the University of Notre Dame, Rochester, Vanderbilt and Washington University in St. Louis.

Semester Online will begin in fall 2013. Courses will be available to academically qualified undergraduate students attending consortium schools and other top U.S. schools.

“Joining the Semester Online consortium is a natural next step for UNC-Chapel Hill to enhance the access our students have to new ideas and information,” said Ron Strauss, executive vice provost and chief international officer. “The University’s participation, through the Kenan-Flagler Business School, is consistent with our mission of preparing students to become the next generation of leaders for North Carolina, our nation and the world.”

The consortium is partnering with 2U, formerly known as 2tor, to offer the classes through its virtual classroom environment and interactive platform.

Classes will feature many of the same elements that 2U provides to its master’s degree program partners, including professor-led live class sessions that will be limited to 20 students; richly produced, self-paced course materials; and a strong social network that allows students to connect and build relationships with their classmates online.

UNC already offers two graduate degree programs with 2U: MBA@UNC, an online master of business administration program with UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, which started in July 2011; and MPA@UNC, a master of public administration program with the UNC School of Government.

Kenan-Flagler will develop the University’s first classes for Semester Online.

“Our decision to offer MBA@UNC has been strategically important and the program has benefitted our entire school. Just as importantly, our MBA@UNC students are thriving,” said James W. Dean Jr., dean of UNC Kenan-Flagler. “We have demonstrated that online education can be rigorous, provide greater access and flexibility for students, and provide the interaction and strong connections that we value in the on-campus learning experience. Offering courses from our top-ranked undergraduate business program will now help us to meet the strong demand for business courses by college students.”

Information about Semester Online courses and the application process will be available in early 2013. The consortium anticipates adding a small number of institutions prior to the program launch.

Semester Online courses will feature primarily the same faculty and curricula as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, with additional courses designed for the online format in the future. Through a state-of-the-art virtual classroom, students will participate in discussions and exercises, attend lectures and collaborate with peers while guided by renowned professors — as close to the on-campus class experience as is currently possible online.

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