UW-L online education continues to grow

graphic depicting statistics related to online education. The number of online courses and degree programs at UW-L continues to grow. Both students and faculty are showing more interest in online education, says Brian Udermann, UW-L director of online education.

UW-L offered about 380 online courses in 2014, approximately 60 more courses than in 2013.

The number of students and instructors participating in online education also is growing. A total of 365 more students took online courses in 2014 compared with the previous year.

Online education has obvious benefits for students — particularly those who are working full or part-time jobs or have families, which could make it difficult to participate if they have to physically come to campus, says Udermann. Also, having more online courses available for traditional students allows them more flexibility with their course schedules. Online courses can help students accommodate their work schedules and allows students to take courses in the summer and during the winter intersession if they decide to return home, he notes.

UW-L had 15 new online instructors in 2014. In a recent survey of online instructors, nearly 70 percent said teaching online had a positive impact on their face-to-face courses.

When designing and developing online courses, instructors often think about creative and engaging ways to deliver content, design assessments to measure student learning and more. They sometimes meet with the instructional designers in UW-L’s Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning as they start to develop their online courses and the designers share more ideas about ways to incorporate technology and create engaging and relevant activities, says Udermann. Then, instructors can incorporate these ideas and strategies into their face-to-face courses as well.