July 30, 2013
DALLAS (SMU) – Approved undergraduate students at SMU will have the opportunity to take a limited number of live, online courses for academic credit from prestigious consortium universities starting this fall through an interactive program called Semester Online.
The courses offered through Semester Online will be as rigorous as those offered on the SMU campus, but will allow students to join the virtual classrooms from anywhere they have internet access. The courses will be taught by faculty who teach the same courses at Boston College, Brandeis University, Emory University, Northwestern University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Notre Dame and Washington University in St. Louis.
SMU is joining Semester Online as a Charter Affiliate Partner, along with Baylor University and Temple University.
SMU Provost Paul Ludden said that the agreement with Semester Online will provide valuable flexibility for SMU students, especially for those who need to spend a semester away from the main campus for internships or to manage personal commitments.
“This is an exciting opportunity for our students,” Ludden said. “The live, face-to-face classes will allow the students and the professor to all see each other in real time, enabling both conversations and visual presentations on the same platform. “
Technology, instructional design and infrastructure support for Semester Online is provided by 2U, Inc.
In fall 2013, Semester Online Consortium schools will offer the following courses:
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Notre Dame
Washington University in St. Louis
The provost appointed a university Task Force on Online Education and consulted with it in identifying the best options available in high-quality online courses for SMU undergraduates.
Interested students will be guided through the Semester Online enrollment process by SMU academic advisors. Participants must be approved by both SMU and Semester Online and will be allowed to enroll in a maximum of four courses during their undergraduate career.
Students with sophomore standing (30 credits earned) with at least a 3.0 grade point average and enrollment at SMU for at least one semester are eligible. Participating students may not sign up for more than a total of 15 credit hours – including the Semester Online course.
Courses taken through Semester Online will appear on the participating student’s SMU academic record as an SMU general elective credit with a note that the course was completed through the Semester Online program and taught by the school offering the course.
Students taking Semester Online courses will be subject to the same tuition and enrollment load rules as traditional SMU courses, for which students pay a single tuition and fee rate for a standard, full-time course load. That means that there will be no additional tuition or fees required of full-time students adding a three-hour Semester Online course.
“We have conservative expectations for participation in Semester Online this first semester since most of the students eligible for the program are sophomores, juniors and seniors who registered for classes last spring,” Ludden said. Students who are looking to add another course to their fall schedule may find this option helpful, he said.
“We expect to receive feedback from the cadre of SMU students who pioneer this experience,” Ludden said. “We will work with this first group to ensure that the program is a good fit, and to prepare for larger numbers of participants in the spring.”
SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls nearly 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.
About Semester Online
Semester Online is the first-of-its-kind program to offer for-credit undergraduate courses through a consortium of top-tier universities that includes Boston College, Brandeis University, Emory University, Northwestern University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Notre Dame, and Washington University in St. Louis. In partnership with 2U, Semester Online offers rigorous, online, for-credit courses to college students from anywhere in the world. For more information, please visit semesteronline.org.
About 2U, Inc.
2U partners with top-tier universities to deliver rigorous, selective graduate degree and undergraduate for-credit programs online. Founded in 2008 by John Katzman and a team of education veterans, the company provides universities with the technologies, infrastructural support and capital they need to transform their on-campus programs into high-quality, web-based programs. 2U is one of the highest-funded education technology start-ups in the United States. For more information, please visit 2U.com.