Online Colleges in Indiana
2013's Revolutionary Online Programs in Indiana
Indiana University (IU) began an online education initiative in 2012, hoping to grow the school's online eduction presence both nationally and internationally. IU has spent $8 million to pursue this objective and has added over 20 new online programs in 2013. The school hopes to increase that amount even more before the fall 2014 term begins. IU Online is now offering over 100 online degree and certificate programs. The IU-Bloomington campus has focused on expanding its online graduate degree programs. The School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) has created the SPEA Connect program for online learners. Currently, about 50 students are enrolled in the program. SPEA Connect currently has about 25 graduate classes and a few undergraduate classes available. Online admission standards are the same as on-campus, and the master's degrees students earn will be the same as their on-campus counterparts.
In conjunction with its online education initiative, Indiana University's Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) is helping several of the school's departments create massive open online courses (MOOCs). IU's first MOOC was a course on information visualization, held in January. Dr. Katy Börner of IU's School of Library and Information Science taught the seven-week course. Theoretical and hands-on instructional videos were used to create geospatial, temporal, topical and network analyses and visualizations from both personal and professional data. The course was available over the Google Course Builder platform. This relatively new tool is continuing to be developed by Google as it looks to add MOOCs to its growing list of available products.
University of Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame has joined seven other prestigious colleges and universities, offering online courses from each university through its new consortium Semester Online. These courses can be taken for college credit at the student's home university, no matter which of the consortium schools is offering the course. Boston College, Brandeis University, Emory University, Northwestern University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Washington University in St. Louis have also joined the consortium. Courses will consist of live classroom sessions, self-paced course materials, and online forums and discussion groups. Students wishing to take these courses must qualify academically. Semester Online is the first consortium to offer online courses for college credit from several universities.
The University of Notre Dame is now offering a new executive certificate in transformational nonprofit leadership. The certificate can be obtained completely online. There are three separate eight-week courses that are required, each building on the material from the last. Courses include "Principles of Leading Transformational Nonprofits," "Leading Nonprofit Boards" and "Fundraising and Grant Strategies." The new online program is geared toward those professionals entering the field of nonprofits who lack formal business skills, and for current managers and board members who desire to become more effective members.
Employment Opportunities in Indiana
Colleges and universities in Indiana faced dramatic challenges over the last decade. According to a 2011 report from Indiana Economic Digest, tuition rates nearly doubled, while the state’s seven public institutions of higher learning dealt with declining government support. The combination of these unfortunate circumstances has resulted in a scarcity of degree holders in the state. In fact, the Lumina Foundation (luminafoundation.org, 2012) found that only about 33 percent of adults in Indiana aged 25 to 64 held a college degree in 2010, ranking the state 40th in college attainment.
But the future could be bright for higher education in Indiana, and much of that positive horizon is due to the rise of online education in the state. In fact, when it comes to online learning, Indiana scored an "A" from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's "Leaders and Laggards" survey of public postsecondary education. As the state strives to create an environment where more students graduate with a degree in hand, online education has become an increasingly important consideration.
Advantages of Online Education for Students in Indiana
Because of their convenience and flexibility, online colleges in Indiana have the potential to give a much wider range of individuals the opportunity to attain a higher education. Online programs typically allow students to complete coursework at their own pace, giving those with work or family obligations a chance to earn a degree while maintaining other commitments. Additionally, students who live far away from local schools can benefit from taking courses online rather than making the long trek to campus. Individuals who have trouble in traditional classroom settings, such as those with learning challenges or mobility issues, might also consider an online degree.
Online education is a great alternative for professionals seeking further training to keep up with the changing requirements of their careers, as well as those who want to earn a higher degree for advancement. Students who take online courses have the advantage of using new technologies that are becoming increasingly relevant in today's workplace. Online colleges often utilize chat rooms, voice and video conferencing, message boards and other communication tools that can serve students well in the professional world. In addition to fully online programs, students might choose a blended route, spending time in a traditional classroom for hands-on training and taking lecture-based courses online.
Trends in Online Education: Public and Private Online Schools in Indiana
Many public and private schools in Indiana offer online classes, credential programs and degrees. The Indiana College Network (ICN) is a great place to begin the search for higher education courses in the state. Each member school of ICN is accredited by agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, and many colleges in the state, including Ball State University, Indiana Wesleyan University, Purdue University and the University of Indianapolis have course listings through the site.
Some of the most well-known institutions in Indiana have begun to feature online degree options. For example, Ball State University offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees through both fully online and blended learning programs. Purdue University Extended Campus now hosts numerous online graduate programs, including master's degrees in business, building construction, education, engineering, agricultural economics, pharmacy and technology. Indiana University also has several online programs, most notably associate degree and certificate programs in histotechnology, a health-science field that examines the structure of cells in tissue and organs.
In addition to state schools, many national online colleges offer degree programs to students in Indiana. Most of these schools boast a wider range of degree concentrations and have been offering online programs for many years. Several, such as ITT Technical Institute and Strayer University, even have physical campuses in the state, giving students the opportunity to earn a degree through hybrid programs that combine online courses with traditional classroom learning.
Entry Requirements and Application Process for Indiana Online Colleges
As each college has different requirements for enrollment or credit transfer, it is important to speak with an admissions counselor before making any decisions. Most national online schools have a streamlined application process, with advisors available to answer questions via online chat rooms. For details on a program or school that sparks your interest, or to contact an admissions counselor, please request information from one of the schools listed below.
Ball State University, http://cms.bsu.edu/
Purdue University, Distance Learning, https://www.distance.purdue.edu/default.asp