CU Online is one of the first fully accredited online education programs, created in 1996 by the University of Colorado Denver (UC-Denver). With CU Online, the pedagogy of UCD faculty has been extended globally, allowing local students as well as international students to partake in the same education.
Initially launching with three online courses, CU Online has expanded its catalog to over 350 UCD online courses, with 10 full UCD degree programs and six certificates that can be completed entirely online. The online courses themselves are considered just another option for UCD students, as they offer the same credit and are taught by the same on campus professors. The student-faculty ratio also remains the same for both on campus and online courses (roughly 15:1). In all, CU Online has had 62,033 enrollments from 1996-2006.
The online courses run on a traditional semester schedule, where they start and stop at the same time as the on campus UCD classes (Fall, Spring, Summer). As such, the online courses are not "self paced", but rather are "asynchronous", which means students can login anytime of day or night. The amount of time students are expected to be logged in is dependent upon the professor.
Each online course is developed to convey and teach the same content and material as its on campus counterpart, but in a way that’s conducive to the electronic medium. Each student is assigned a homepage in order to:
- Access courses
- Participate in class discussions (threaded discussions and ‘chat’ with peers)
- Find assignments, lectures and exams
CU Online employs two distinct course delivery platforms – eCollege and Blackboard Inc. eCollege is typically used for the completely online courses and Blackboard is used to supplement the on campus courses in the form of blended learning.
Online courses are typically divided into units of class discussions (ongoing posts of classmate queries and comments), downloadable assignments and quizzes. What students are actually graded on is based on the course and the professor, however, class participation is usually required in the form of threaded discussions. Similar to a traditional on campus course, the content of the course is subject to the discretion of the professor.
With CU Online, lectures are delivered from various formats, such as:
- Streaming audio, video, YouTube, etc.
- Discussion boards and blogs
- Multimedia slide shows
Exams are taken and administered in a variety of ways. They can be administered "online" by using course software with an internet browser (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, etc), as a “take home” exam where the exam is printed out and handed in, or "proctored
" by outside parties, instructor, or the teaching assistant
(TA) at a designated location. A 24/7 help desk is also available for both students and faculty.
All online courses may be applied to a degree program at UCD or may be transferred to a student’s home institution, pending approval. The credits earned through CU Online are identical to credits earned through traditional on-campus courses; even if a student completes an entire program online, the degree is awarded with the same benefactor, University of Colorado.
CU Online offers courses in liberal arts and science, arts and media, business, education, engineering, public affairs, and architecture and planning. Below are the complete degree programs and certificates that can be completed exclusively through online courses:Business School
- Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.)
- Master of Science in Information Systems (M.S.)
- Master of Science in Management and Organization with an emphasis in Sustainability (M.S.)College of Engineering and Applied Science
- Master of Engineering (M. Eng) with an emphasis in Geographic Information SystemsCollege of Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Bachelor of Arts, English Writing (B.A.)
- Bachelor of Arts, Sociology (B.A.)
- Professional Writing Certificate
- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) CertificateCollege of Nursing
- Certificate in Palliative Care
- Clinical Educator Certificate
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing
- Health Care Informatics Certificate
- International Certificate in Human Care and Healing
- Master of Science in Nursing – Informatics option
- RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S)School of Education and Human Development
- Early Childhood Special Education, Specialist License
- Early Literacy Certificate
- Designing and Implementing Web-based Learning Environments Certificate
- Master of Arts in Information and Learning Technologies (ILT) with an emphasis in eLearning Design and Implementation (M.A.)
- Master of Arts in Information and Learning Technologies (ILT) with an emphasis in School Library (M.A.)
- Special Education Generalist Licensure School of Public Affairs
- Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.)
- Non-Profit Management Certificate