Union College receives grant for online course development

Published on
February 07, 2012

Union College's online courses are poised for a $2 million boost.

The college recently received a Title III Strengthening Institutions grant, known as Expanding Higher Education Opportunity. This federal Department of Education grant will increase Union's capacity to develop and deliver online and hybrid curricula. 

The grant runs until September 2015, and will provide just under $2 million, if all five years are fully funded. With this, the college will convert more than 40 courses for online hybrid delivery with the assistance of a new faculty studio, where instructors will be provided the tools they need to effectively design web-based courses. The college will also provide a number of online student services, including orientation, tutoring, financial aid, advising and degree auditing.

Additionally, the college hopes to broaden access to postsecondary opportunities for residents of Appalachia.

Jerry Jackson, vice president for enrollment at Union College, said that these online developments will help with that.

"We realize that the best way for us to increase enrollment without major changes to our infrastructure in the short term is to strengthen our online presence," Jackson said. "Online gives us the opportunity to grow without the worry of classroom space or additional residence halls." A new technological infrastructure will support these initiatives and will also increase the college's capacity to support online programming and web-based enrollment increases.

The program is headed by Tara L. Cooper, Title III director. The program has additional staff, including an online learning specialist/activities coordinator, online student services specialist, academic technology specialist and an administrative assistant.