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Indiana University announces IU Online, a major new online education initiative

Indiana University has announced IU Online -- a major strategic investment in online education that will accelerate the development and delivery of quality online courses and programs at IU's campuses statewide, address Indiana's economic and professional development needs, and extend the university's global reach.

The IU Online education initiative, which will be seeded with an initial investment of $8 million over the next three years, reflects the major impact online technologies are having in reshaping the higher education landscape as well as the university's commitment to adopting new and innovative modes of teaching and learning supported by its extensive information technology infrastructure.

Michael McRobbie

Michael A. McRobbie

Print-Quality Photo

The initial investment will be used to hire additional online instructional designers and technologists; to expand the hardware and software systems necessary to create and manage online programs on a large scale; and to fund IU's new Office of Online Education, which will oversee and coordinate all of the university's online activities. In addition, more than $2 million is expected to be distributed directly to academic units across all IU campuses to support the development of online programs.

"Online education has been a growing part of IU's education programs for many years now, and IU Online is a significant new investment aimed at a major expansion of these programs in a strategic and coordinated way," IU President Michael A. McRobbie said.

"With the many online programs IU already offers in a wide range of academic areas, including business, technology, social work, nursing, and public and environmental affairs; with a first-rate faculty; and with information technology systems that are recognized among the best in the world, Indiana University is extremely well-positioned and well-equipped to be a global leader in the development of high-quality online education.

"The new IU Online initiative will enable us to marshal our renowned academic and technological resources to expand existing online programs and develop new offerings that are geared toward improving student learning, encouraging greater undergraduate degree completion, strengthening the state's workforce and reaching new populations of students in Indiana, nationally and internationally."

IU Online will address four priorities:

  • Creating undergraduate degree programs.
  • Creating graduate degree and certificate programs.
  • Providing online options for high-enrollment undergraduate courses.
  • Exploring experimental modes of education.

Through the initiative, IU's regional campuses will jointly develop and deliver undergraduate degree programs, particularly those oriented toward supporting Indiana's plans for workforce development. The campuses will seek to expand existing programs, convert current on-campus programs to online formats and establish new program offerings, while also conducting market analysis on which programs would best support the state's economic and professional development needs.

Online graduate degree and certificate programs will be offered primarily by IU's Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses, which will develop programs in areas that promote their distinctive academic strengths and faculty expertise nationally and internationally.

IU Online will also focus on reducing the time it takes students to complete degree programs by making certain online courses available throughout the year and exploring the development of "massively online" undergraduate courses.

New courses also will enable Indiana high school students who are completing the Core 40 with honors curriculum or who are interested in taking dual-credit courses to receive college credit.

"We will bring the same energy, enthusiasm and commitment to IU Online as we devote to on-campus education, and we will work closely with faculty experts and academic administrators on all of our campuses to ensure we build on the momentum we have already established with regard to increasing student access to the quality instruction that is the hallmark of Indiana University," McRobbie added.

IU has been a pioneer in online education for the past 15 years and currently has more than 80 established programs across its campuses. The university will build on momentum established in online programs in the Kelley School of Business, nursing, public and environmental affairs, social work and education and at the IU East campus in Richmond, Ind. A complete list of online programs offered by IU can be found at

By fall 2013, IU expects to increase its 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. In addition, the university expects to offer several new online courses by summer 2013 for undergraduates or high school students.

IU Online reflects a commitment -- as outlined in IU's Principles of Excellence and further expressed in its New Directions in Teaching and Learning report -- to adopt innovative modes of teaching and learning and expand on the usage of information technology to improve the educational attainment of students.

Working closely with faculty experts and academic administrators from all IU campuses, IU's Office of Online Education will partner with University Information Technology Services, IU's Center for Regional Campus Excellence and the Office of the Executive Vice President for University Regional Affairs, Planning and Policy to support the IU Online initiative.

The Office of Online Education, which will be responsible for oversight and coordination of the initiative, was established by McRobbie in spring 2011, to provide leadership, coordination and quality assurance of online education across all IU campuses based on a recommendation of the IU Strategic Plan for Online Education prepared by Bobby Schnabel, dean of the School of Informatics and Computing. Associate Vice President Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, a professor of instructional systems technology on the Bloomington campus, serves as director of the office.

Originally published Sept. 5, 2012.