By Rachel Terlep
NEW ALBANY, Ind. — Indiana University Southeast has seen tremendous growth in online course offerings in the past three years, and the school is poised to enter the summer with its most diverse list of offerings yet.
Since the 2013 spring semester, the number of IU Southeast students taking at least one online class has grown 452 percent (from 468 students to 2,114). Nearly 40 percent of all IU Southeast students are taking at least one online class.
IU Southeast is offering almost 200 online courses over the summer, including new additions such as introductory French, German and Spanish and courses in consumer behavior, microeconomics and macroeconomics.
As of the 2016 spring semester, upper-level business classes represented the biggest percentage of online credit hours at almost 24 percent of online hours taken. Nursing classes were next at 7 percent.
Some of the most in-demand classes are in the business program. According to School of Business Dean A. Jay White, IU Southeast offers many of its core business classes online.
“We strategically selected what we knew would likely be in the highest demand and that would be of most benefit to students trying to get through their program in a timely fashion,” White said. “With very few exceptions, any of the required business core classes that we put online have filled up within a day and a half of the registration opening.”
Associate Professor in Human Resources Management Alysa Lambert is teaching two upper-level online business classes with full enrollment. She believes that as students become more comfortable with the online format, they will take more classes to meet the balance of school and personal responsibilities.
“When people work full time, have kids and have other responsibilities, the need for more flexibility grows,” Lambert said. “Additionally, when much of business is done online now with smartphones and other technology and telecommuting and working from home is growing in popularity, taking online courses becomes more of the norm.”
The data supports Lambert’s observations, as more non-traditional students and adult learners are taking advantage of IU Southeast’s online course offerings than ever before. Forty-one percent of students ages 25-39 take at least one online class, as do 44.1 percent of students age 40 or older.
“I believe non-traditional students desire to study at their own convenience,” Lambert said. “As the number of online courses grow, students get more experience with them. As they get more comfortable with the online format, they will take more online classes.”
IU Southeast students taking at least one online class tend to be on track to complete their degree faster. Students taking online classes are, on average, taking 11 credit hours per semester, slightly more than the 10.4 credit hours per semester taken by students who are not enrolled in any online classes.
Additional IU Southeast online enrollment fast facts:
- IU Southeast offered 118 online classes in summer 2015 and is offering nearly 200 this summer.
- Online class offerings at IU Southeast have grown from 141 in the spring of 2013 to 190 this spring.
- Nearly one quarter of students age 40 and over take 100 percent of their classes online.