Growing Online Programs

After years of focus on quality online programming, Ohio State is ready to blossom. Ohio State’s Distance Education Enrollment Plan projects a 450% increase in distance education students by 2020.

In 2014, Provost Steinmetz and other strategic partners with the university met with ODEE to discuss this growth. We turned to developing a five-year plan for online programs, and have been fulfilling this plan since. Through the online programs enrollment initiative, Ohio State’s online programs will be expanding rapidly. 

Expanding our offering of online general education courses and master’s degree programs provides more flexible options for students far and wide. By 2020, Ohio State’s online enrollment will grow from approximately 470 distance education students to nearly 2,100 students.

“It was a university-wide effort to pull this information together,” said Jennifer Simmons, Associate Director of Distance Education. “The result of that effort is ODEE, each college, and the entire university now have a clear understanding of what each colleges intentions are related to distance education over the next five years.”

Simmons said some colleges will be increasing their distance education programming, while others will be increasing enrollments in their existing programs.

Since Ohio State joined the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), students outside of Ohio have dramatically increased access to enroll in our programs. Nation-wide accessibility helps sustain these online programs and drive the creation of new offerings in any-time, any place formats.

ODEE will work closely with academic units to develop engaging experiences for distance students. Our team of instructional designers use a variety of educational technology tools and pedagogical expertise to excel in the digital environment.

“ODEE’s role for the current five-year strategic enrollment plan for online programs is to continue meeting with academic units to understand their plans and timelines for bringing new programs forward for approval,” said Robert Griffiths, Senior Director of Digital Scholarship & Development.

Griffiths said ODEE’s role is to coordinate the necessary support and resources for Ohio State’s student support units to be successful in this new-to-OSU education space.

The five-year plan provides data that justifies the expansion of online programs to meet ever-growing online student interests and enrollment goals of the university. ODEE will be identifying barriers to success in online programs throughout this plan, and collaborate with the campus community to solve them.

“I’m lucky to have a seat on the rollercoaster as Ohio State navigates the same higher education disruption and pressures every institution is facing,” Griffiths said, “and I’m excited where it’s heading.”

DE Program Enrollment Projections graph

Graph of DE enrollment projections for programs in approval process