SMU to join top universities with new online offerings

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Dallas Hall was lit up SMU red and blue for the Centennial Celebration in 2011. SMU is now offering classes online. (Sidney Holllingsworth/The Daily Campus)

As a highly-respected and sought-after university throughout the country, SMU makes it a top priority to offer students some of the most relevant and cutting-edge opportunities available. With this goal in mind, the university will offer some of its first online learning opportunities during the fall 2013 semester.

 

Dr. Paul Ludden, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, headed up the new opportunities with Semester Online, “a consortium of a number of high-quality universities.”

The list, including Notre Dame, Washington University, Northwestern and others, reflects institutions that share in the SMU dedication to quality and rigor.

“[Semester Online] fits with SMU’s goal of having high-quality, high-engagement opportunities for our students,” Ludden said.

The first semester of SMU’s participation, limited to upperclassmen, “will be for small section size, high engagement courses, synchronous whenever possible.” The professors will expect students to be online at the designated class meeting time.

With courses offered in political science, literature, psychology, business and history, Ludden spoke to ways in which the program “broadens the opportunities for our students.” Ludden believes that moving with education innovations as they are happening is key.

“This is an experiment,” Ludden said. “The educational landscape is changing. SMU wants to make sure we’re involved in changing this landscape as we go forward.”

The program is being used on an “experimental basis” and students will be reporting back to Ludden and faculty senate with feedback on their experience.

Faculty senate members spent extensive time researching the course syllabi and comparing them to SMU’s scale of education standards.

“We always want high-quality courses that are rigorous where our students will get real value for the time they put in learning,” Ludden said.

This measure of excellence is one Ludden believes will most likely be met, based on SMU’s fellow universities collaborating on the program.

“One of the most attractive features,” Ludden explained, “is that it is an absolutely outstanding group of universities that we are affiliating with.”

The last day for Semester Online fall semester enrollment is Aug. 26.

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