Center for Professional Development

New Online Courses Benefit Students and Departments

By Sandy Silver.

This summer, incoming master’s students in three departments will be able to take online courses prior to arriving on campus in the fall. Taking any of these introductory courses will allow students advantages when they begin their residential programs, including:

  • The opportunity to take more advanced courses during residency
  • The ability to complete a degree within three residential quarters (versus four)

The online courses from the departments of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) in the School of Engineering, and Statistics in the School of Humanities and Sciences were created in partnership with the Office of Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning.

These online courses have also allowed departments to offer more options to their graduate and undergraduate students who are enrolled in related programs. Over time this approach may ultimately allow departments to increase enrollment in their master’s programs, which would otherwise be hindered by limits in resident housing.

The pilot program for this initiative launched last summer, attracting 14 students to CEE courses and 39 students to MSE courses, including incoming and existing master’s and PhD students. Student feedback was mostly positive with an unexpected bonus: new international students found that taking classes before arriving on campus had the benefit of improving their English language skills.