Kennesaw State’s explosive growth in online learning spurs evolution of virtual campus
Enrollment grows to 11,000 in University’s online courses
KENNESAW, Ga. (July 25, 2013) — As more students turn to mobile technology and online options for higher education, Kennesaw State’s distance learning program — KSU Online— has created a virtual campus where online learners can access the same academic and support services that parallel the on-campus experience.
Enrollment in online courses at Kennesaw State has grown from 3,300 to 11,300 since online courses were first introduced in 2007. The University’s academic course offerings have also grown from 37 courses in 2007, to more than 430 today. Kennesaw State offered two online degree programs in 2007 and now offers more than 18 program options with more planned.
“The explosive growth of Kennesaw State’s online learning is certainly an indicator of our focus on student accessibility, and a sign of students’ desire to use technology in learning,” said Ken Harmon, Kennesaw State’s provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “Through distance education, our academic programs are reaching a significantly growing number of undergraduate and graduate students who have limited flexibility because of work obligations, geographic barriers or family commitments.”
Kennesaw State students can take traditional classes on campus along with online classes or choose to complete their entire degree program online.
“Newer hybrid courses use a mixed approach with a ‘flipped classroom’ model, where content is delivered in an online format and traditional classroom time is used for class discussion and interaction with the professor,” said Elke Leeds, assistant vice president for Technology Enhanced Learning and executive director of the Distance Learning Center at Kennesaw State.
“These types of online courses offer greater flexibility, but it takes a student who is self- motivated and highly organized to be successful in online college courses,” Leeds said. “Students seek learning spaces rather than just classrooms. They learn from virtually anywhere, and their desire for technology-enhanced courses is what is leading to more and more degree programs and courses being offered through Kennesaw State’s distance learning program.”
Course offerings include two undergraduate and seven graduate degree programs and eight certificate programs offered online in business, education, sociology, nursing and international policy management. Three new degree programs will be added early next year, and the Bagwell College of Education plans to launch the University’s first massive open online course (MOOC) in January 2014.
“Our master’s degrees in education, in particular, have become a specialty area,” Leeds said. “These degrees, certificates and endorsement programs offer high-quality, flexible alternatives to support the professional advancement needs of K-12 teachers.”
To support the growth in online learning and the needs of students, Kennesaw State launched KSU Online, a virtual campus that offers access to videos, chats and other web-based tools, providing online learners the opportunity to engage in tutoring, advising, counseling and other academic and support services similar to the services students attending campus have.
A new development in the virtual campus is the Online Writing Center. Staff members, using a shared whiteboard in an interactive, face-to-face online format, provide help for students in their writing assignments. Online students also participate in a virtual campus orientation, engage in a live chat with librarians and access the same technology resources available to on-campus students through the Virtual Computing Lab.
“Through our virtual campus, we give our online learners more than just a place to access their classes,” said Leeds. “We have designed a single resource in KSU Online to provide students access to advising, technology, services and support. We give our online students a place to call their campus home.”
Prior to enrolling in an online course at Kennesaw State, students are required to take an online student readiness assessment, which helps them determine the planning and resources necessary to succeed in a technology-rich learning environment.
To learn more about Kennesaw State’s online learning community and opportunities, visit http://learnonline.kennesaw.edu/
- Tiffany Capuano