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ND may offer undergrad courses online

November 16, 2012

A group of selective universities, including NotreDame, has formed a consortium that plans to offer online courses. They will be using software from 2U, a company known until recently as 2tor. 2U has worked with online graduate programs for several years and has garnered a great deal of positive press as an innovative startup.

Through 2U’s Semester Online program an undergraduate at any of the campuses will be able to take courses offered by the others for credit, so one of our music majors might take an online course from the Eastman School at the University of Rochester. Enrollments will be capped at twenty and the 2U hopes to to offer the first courses in fall 2013.

We’re doing this to offer our students even better options to enrich their education. (Peter Lange, provost of Duke University)

Promoters of Semester Online say it will give students a wider selection of course options. It may also benefit students who want to study abroad, by enabling them to take a course they would normally have missed while away.

Beyond the names already mentioned, the consortium also includes Emory, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, and others — more may join in the future. At Notre Dame this would be a huge departure from the norm; we have never offered a regular set of online courses to undergraduates.

Details of the Semester Online project have yet to be worked out. One possible wrinkle is that a school might not be required to grant credit for every one of the courses offered by other institutions. Discussions at our campus are ongoing.

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