Kansas University Continuing Education is working to increase its online course catalog.
The university added eight online courses this summer, allowing students with scheduling conflicts or who are living outside of Lawrence to earn credit.
The courses, offered by the psychology, history, women’s studies, economics and political science departments, move at the same pace as regular courses. The courses offer online activities, videos and readings. Some professors are even available for online office hours via video conference.
The online classes are an effort to accommodate as many students as possible, said Jean Yoo, interim director for the Center of Online and Distance Learning.
“We want to reach a wide audience and maintain KU quality,” Yoo said.
In addition to the new courses, Continuing Education also offers independent study classes. Independent studies give students six months to complete assignments on their own schedule, outside the classroom. Yoo said many students benefit from this flexibility, including those with jobs or who already taking a full course load. Traditionally, students and professors corresponded through the mail, sending each other assignments and graded material. Around five years ago, Continuing Education decided to utilize the web to make the process quicker, easier and cheaper.
Yoo said there is no difference between online and real-time classes, as both are developed by university professors. Even though students work from home at their own pace, Yoo said the online and independent studies courses are “definitely not an easy way out.”
“The instructors help motivate, but you should have discipline,” she said. “They are not for everyone.”
Yoo said her department is working to add more online courses and will do so at a pace that allows for adequate feedback and development.
“We want to be mindful of what we’re doing and maintain quality courses,” she said.