Friday, October 29, 2010

ASU partners with Pearson to boost online presence

Arizona State University is beginning an aggressive push to increase online student enrollment.
It is partnering with Pearson eCollege, part of Britain-based Pearson, a global leader in education, technology and services that occupies a large office building at Loop 101 and Ray Road in Chandler.
"ASU is partnering with Pearson eCollege in order to rapidly accelerate the development of high-quality course work and achieve enrollment goals of 17,000 to 30,000 undergraduate students within the next five years," said Philip Regier, executive vice provost and dean of ASU Online.ASU now has 1,600 online students.Regier said ASU will increase marketing and call-center enrollment services."What we do really well at ASU is curriculum and instruction," the dean said.Regier said he wants to "really give the for-profits a run for their money."Currently ASU resident undergraduates pay $975 per course plus fees. That cost will increase a bit in the spring.Non-resident students will pay the same for online classes that on-campus resident students pay."We're obviously focused first and foremost in the Arizona and Phoenix markets, but . . . we welcome (out-of-state students) very much," he said.The Board of Regents gave ASU the authority to grant out-of-state students an online degree and to price their tuition at a rate comparable to in-state students.
"Our end goal is to graduate students," the dean said, "to graduate them, not to get them in, but to get them degrees."At least a dozen degrees are offered online, including nursing, sociology, political science and criminology and criminal justice. The offerings meet 80 to 90 percent of the demand for returning students, Regier said. The two most popular degrees are in interdisciplinary studies and liberal science. A degree in psychology will be offered online in January. Online business degrees will follow, he said.
Department chairmen and faculty will stay in control of the online programs, he added. More faculty will be hired."We want to meld the best aspects of the private sector with the best aspects of ASU, and . . . we think we can retain and graduate students far better because of our partnership (with Pearson)."
Under the agreement, ASU will design and teach classes and set and enforce instructional and academic policies. Pearson will provide software - a learning management system for the delivery of online programs. It will provide enrollment services and monitor and analyze trends in student performance. ASU will take in online students every eight weeks, and classes will run 7 1/2 weeks, half the time of an on-campus semester.
"There will be required interaction between students, and they will write papers. It will be very much a class," the dean said.

Luci scott
The Arizona Republic

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