KU online classes

Paul Atchley, Kansas University psychology professor
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For the first time, starting this fall, students with associate’s degrees will be able to complete coursework entirely online for Bachelor of General Studies degrees through CLAS. In addition to the degree-completion program, CLAS is rolling out online courses toward certificates in world business culture and professional communication, aimed at people who are already working but seek more expertise.

In any given semester, across the Lawrence and Edwards campuses, KU offers between 100 and 200 courses online, and it expects to add more in upcoming years, said Sara Rosen, senior vice provost for academic affairs.

The university’s various schools each are considering separately what if any fully online programs fit their missions and should be added, Rosen said.

The goal, she said, is “reaching students where and when they are able to work on their educational goals.”

That might include on-campus students who can’t fit a particular on-campus class into their schedules or who want to gain credits while they’re away for the summer, she said. Also targeted are students who want degrees but can’t attend classes on-campus.

Working mothers are a common example of the type of student the CLAS degree-completion program is envisioned to help, Atchley said.

“This is an opportunity for us to really fulfill our mission to serve the students in the state and the region and the nation, really, who wouldn’t have that opportunity otherwise, ” Atchley said.

While traditional students could enroll in the online courses, Atchley said it would be important to articulate to them the value of what KU offers “face to face.”

“Students who are lucky enough to come to KU, they should take as much advantage of that as they can, ” he said. “But we also have to realize that things have changed ... now more than ever students need that flexibility.”

Atchley has served the past two years as the dean’s project leader for online program development. He said he also developed KU’s first completely online course, an orientation for psychology students, more than 10 years ago and has seen thousands of students through it.

CLAS dean Danny Anderson noted that CLAS offers many classes online already. What’s new, and what Atchley will continue, is “pulling them together” with advising to enable degree and certificate completions.

“This is going to give much more cohesion to our online offerings, ” Anderson said.

Online courses on deck

KU has grown its online course offerings and will continue to, according to senior vice provost for academic affairs Sara Rosen. Here’s what’s in the works:

• Over the next three years, KU will offer 14 to 15 online master's programs, endorsement programs and graduate certificate programs in the School of Education. It has launched several already.

• The School of Business is beginning to develop an online MBA program.

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