PROGRAMS OF SCALE
Why Programs of Scale?
Indiana University is an established leader in online education. For more than 40 years, it has innovated in the digital space. The result: some of the nation’s most respected online degrees and certificates. Over the past 10 years, IU has provided a strategic brand and organization to its more than 200 online programs through IU Online. While our efforts during the past decades have succeeded, we can do more. In IU 2030, IU President Pamela Whitten challenges the university to triple the number of online students it serves
There are multiple reasons for this. First and foremost, online education is a driver of access. IU Online students are ethnically diverse and overwhelmingly female. They include veterans and active members of the military services. More than half of our students take care of a family member, and three-quarters work. Increasingly, students who elect not to have a full-time residential experience look to online programs. Working adults who want to continue their education for bachelor’s completion or graduate degrees are less inclined to give up their job to come back to school full time. Online programs allow them to do both.
Second, students of all ages want online education. Increasingly comfortable in an online environment, even K–12 students use learning management systems like Canvas and have “remote learning days.” Older students find it more convenient and less daunting to step into online learning. Students of all ages are used to having their digital world in their pocket or purse, and online education fits nicely in this space.
Third, we can’t ignore the basics of enrollments. IU has long devoted resources aimed at extending IU’s resources to students. The five regional campuses embody this commitment to meeting students where they are. In addition, IU has had a leading presence in Indianapolis for more than a century. There are other examples from over the years, like the School of Continuing Studies, employer-based courses, and community centers. All exemplify IU’s mission to serve students beyond the campus borders. Online provides an opportunity to reach even broader audiences
Finally, there’s the need to remain relevant. To be a meaningful educator in the 21st century, IU must play a leadership role in educating students in the digital space—because that’s where they will be learning. IU must embrace the opportunity to educate larger numbers of students through the use of innovative online classrooms. If we don’t, we will simply be spectators as other universities and colleges meet the needs of students.
Our Programs of Scale (ProS) represent IU’s response to meeting these challenges for the benefit of our students and stakeholders.