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Saturday, June 15
The Indiana Daily Student

academics & research

IU online degrees best in country

Two of IU’s online degrees are the best American universities have to offer, according to the U.S. News and World Report.

The Kelley School of Business “Kelley Direct” program was ranked the best online graduate business program, and the School of Education was ranked second-best online graduate education program, according to the report published this month.
 
Both degrees maintain their ranks among more than 200 other degree programs on their respective lists and were selected based on student engagement, technological availability and faculty participation and aid.

“Kelley Direct has long been the model other schools look to when developing their online graduate programs, and it continues to evolve to meet today’s needs in the business world,” Idalene Kesner, dean of the Kelley School, said in a press release.

To satisfy the demand for online degrees, the Kelley Direct program offers a variety of opportunities to students both on campus and online.

“We add features that emulate in-residence experiences, such as collaborative and personalized learning projects for real-world organizations, leadership and career training, and global leadership courses that include international trips,” Kesner said in the release.

Kelley established its online programs in 2000, and Ash Soni, Kelley’s executive associate dean for academic programs, said the past 14 years have been a lesson in web-wide success.

What began as a degree belonging to just a few corporations grew only through word of mouth and later advertisements in business journals, he said. Now, after more than a decade of technological advances, it’s a global product.

“What we’re delivering right now is a very top-rate program,” Soni said.

Consistency between on-campus and online classrooms is maintained by keeping instructors involved in both.

“We use the same faculty that teach in our residential and part-time programs,” Kesner said.

Director of the Office of Online Education Judith Halstead said IU’s strong start in online education should continue into a long streak of success.

“Our online programs are growing in numbers,” she said.

She said IU’s reputation for quality programs, expert faculty and access to technology is what helped the business and education programs make the top grade.

“The quality exists across the board,” she said.

Online enrollment is on a steep incline.

In fall 2013, 26,649 students were enrolled in online classes at IU. Halstead said this was an 18 percent increase from fall 2012.

While statistics from this semester’s enrollment are not yet available, Halstead said she expects the trend to continue.

Gerardo Gonzalez, dean of the School of Education, said the school offers a variety of degrees, certificates and even a doctorate online, the first online doctorate at IU.

“It’s a rigorous program with high admission standards,” Gonzalez said.
Like Kelly Direct, the School of Education’s online program also began in 2000 and now has more than 90 full and part-time faculty members affiliated with it, according to the U.S. News and World Report.

“Technology is changing everything we do,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a different experience.”

Despite the different experience, Gonzalez said he believes the online school is the same quality as the traditional education system offered on campus. These standards, coupled with the convenience of online education, will ensure growth for the program in coming years, he said.
 
He said he hopes the online degree will reach students who, for financial or geographic reasons, cannot come to study on IU’s campus.
    
“We try to get the word out about the program,” Gonzalez said. “These are allowing us to reach markets we have not reached before.”

Follow reporter Amanda Marino on Twitter @amandanmarino.

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