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IU unveils $8M plan to expand online education

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Indiana University will invest $8 million over the next three years to help develop online courses at its eight statewide campuses and extend the school's global reach through online technologies.

The IU Online education initiative will build on IU's 15 years of experience in online education by creating undergraduate and graduate degree programs, providing online options for high enrollment undergraduate courses and exploring new education methods, officials said Wednesday.

IU's new Office of Online Education will oversee and coordinate all of the university's online activities, which IU President Michael A. McRobbie said will result in "a major expansion" of the university's online education programs by tapping into new technologies that are reshaping higher education.

"We will bring the same energy, enthusiasm and commitment to IU Online as we devote to on-campus education," McRobbie said.

The $8 million will be used to hire additional designers and technicians, expand computer systems and fund an Office of Online Education. Money also will go to academic units on all campuses to develop online programs.

Part of IU's new push will include developing programs that can help Indiana boost its workforce and reduce the time it takes students to complete degrees. IU's regional campuses will jointly develop and deliver undergraduate degree programs, particularly those oriented toward workforce development.

Online graduate degree and certificate programs will be offered primarily by IU's Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses through programs promoting their distinctive academic strengths.

By fall 2013, IU officials expect to increase online undergraduate degree and certificate programs in areas such as business, technology and the liberal arts and sciences.

At the graduate program level, every IU professional school has developed, or will begin developing, at least one online degree or certificate by fall 2013. The university also expects to offer several new online courses by summer 2013 for undergraduates or high school students.

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