Baylor University Joins Semester Online as Charter Affiliate PartnerJuly 30, 2013
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Undergraduates, faculty will benefit from affiliation with new for-credit online education initiative
WACO, Texas (July 30, 2013) - After a year-long examination by faculty and staff representing the University's academic units on the Teaching, Learning and Technology Committee (TLTC), Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Davis, Ph.D., announced today that Baylor University has signed an agreement to join 2U's Semester Online consortium as a Charter Affiliate Partner.
The TLTC report, "Engaging the Future of Higher Education," is available on the Provost's website.
Semester Online is the first undergraduate education initiative to offer rigorous, for-credit courses taught by faculty at a consortium of top-tier colleges and universities, including 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. Joining Baylor as Charter Affiliate Partners are Southern Methodist University (SMU) and Temple University.
As a Charter Affiliate Partner, Baylor undergraduates will be allowed enrollment preference to the courses offered by the consortium - which will count as transfer credit and are subject to Baylor's current transfer policy - as students work, travel, participate in off-campus research programs or manage personal commitments that in the past would have meant putting their studies on hold. Baylor faculty also will have exclusive access to the meaningful data from Semester Online about best practices in online learning.
"In fall 2012, I commissioned the Teaching, Learning and Technology Committee to research the current state of online higher education and offer proposals for Baylor's engagement in technology-enhanced learning," Davis said. "I applaud the work of this Committee and its findings. The direction proposed by the TLTC preserves Baylor's distinct mission, values and ethos. By accepting the committee's recommendations, we will embrace a future that will increase our reach and broaden the world's access to a Baylor education."
During the past academic year, the TLTC reviewed and analyzed the current online landscape; discussed online learning with guest speakers and vendors; conducted faculty, staff and administrative focus groups; analyzed current technology tools and resources as well as future needs; and planned for future pilots and opportunities for technology-enhanced learning. Following this process, the TLTC recommended that Baylor initially join the Semester Online consortium to offer students rigorous technology-enhanced courses to Baylor undergraduates on a small scale during summer or while they are abroad.
"The Semester Online initiative is an attractive option for Baylor because, as one of only three charter affiliates, this partnership allows us to broaden our national exposure in technology-enhanced learning," said TLTC chair Rachelle D. Rogers, Ed.D., assistant clinical professor in elementary education in the School of Education. "As part of the consortium of schools in the Semester Online program, Baylor will provide our undergraduate students the opportunity to enroll in rigorous courses online for transfer credit, while representatives from our own faculty would be able to be part of Baylor's online learning research initiatives and program development."
The Provost's Office is working closely with the Registrar, academic advisement and financial aid to develop the enrollment process for Baylor students. Officials hope to make detailed information available in the fall prior to registration for the Spring 2014 semester.
This fall, Semester Online will offer the first of 11 courses, taught live by top faculty from the Semester Online teaching institutions. Additional courses for the Spring 2014 semester are expected to be announced in September. Technology, instructional design and infrastructure support for Semester Online is provided by 2U Inc., the leader in creating online academic experiences for top universities and colleges.
More information about Semester Online is available at www.semesteronline.org.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.
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.