Florida taking new approach to online classes

Maria Britos/ Contributing Writer

Taking college classes might include going completely online. The future of online college classes is in the hands of Florida’s Board of Governors.
Florida’s State University System wants to develop better and greater online higher education to help more students earn college degrees exclusively online.
The Board of Governors is proposing to create a new online university for the state. The board discussed two options. One is the overall collaboration with different universities and the other is appointing one school to take the lead in developing online courses for the system. University of Florida and DeVry University were among the school choices.
State University System Chancellor Frank Brogan said that Florida is a major contributor to online learning but needs to organize itself to get a better return for the future.
The university system hired a consulting firm, Parthenon Group, to help study the future of online programs.
Research by the consulting firm found that 40 percent of university and college students in Florida took at least one course online between 2010 and 2011. Research also shows that students at all degree levels are enrolling in online degree programs.
“The world of online higher education is ever-changing, and there are many opportunities for improvement,” said John D. Rood, chair of the Strategic Planning Committee in a press release last week. “Through this process, we are confident Florida will emerge as as an even stronger national leader in online education—not only for providing high-quality offerings to our students, but for developing best practices that meet the strategic needs of Florida.”
According to Board of Governors spokeswoman Kim Wilmath, the decision followed a presentation by the University of Florida on its online learning strategies. The recommendations will be presented to the full Board of Governors for consideration at its telephonic meeting Feb. 21. The goal is to deliver an online education framework to the Legislature prior to the start of Session in early March.
Students believe that this could potentially change the future of higher education at the college and university level.
“It sounds like this could create more options for students to get a degree,” said Alejandro Vieta, a sophomore in International Relations. “I’m pretty sure almost every student has taken at least one online class.”

This story will be updated with more information on fiusm.com from the Dean of University College Joyce Elam later on this week. Joseph Riquelme, director of FIU Online, was unavailable for comment on this story.