By Becca Burke
Degree options and available courses continue to expand at Boise State, but one area is experiencing exponential growth – online courses. Each semester the number of students enrolling in online courses is increasing and the number of possible online degree options continues to grow each semester.
Boise State currently offers 29 degrees and certificates fully online.
“We are working to add around a dozen more over the next several years,” said Mark Wheeler, dean of Extended Studies. “Some of the university’s online programs have been around for over a decade, but a recent initiative at the university is putting emphasis on developing more online programs.”
Fall 2017 semester will see the addition of the Master of Accountancy and Bachelor of Business Administration in Management to online degree programs. By fall semester, Boise State will offer 35 degree programs and certificates that are exclusively online. According to Niki Callison, recruitment and marketing manager for Extended Studies, there has been a 28 percent increase in student enrollment in online courses for the 2016-2017 academic year.
Currently, there are 3,333 students enrolled exclusively in online courses and 2,823 students who are enrolled exclusively in online programs and certificates. The availability of attending courses entirely online allows students increased flexibility and balance while attending classes.
“These students may never come to campus. In general, these tend to be nontraditional-aged, working adults from Idaho and other parts of the United States who are enrolled part-time,” Wheeler said. “Students tell us that they choose our online programs because they are place-bound and/or time-bound, our programs are respected and accredited, and because we are affordable.”
Although many nontraditional students take online courses, traditional students also benefit from the availability of online courses. This year, 8,725 students have taken one or more fully online courses in addition to traditional classes as part of their course load.
The Boise State eCampus Center has been involved in the expansion of online courses by assisting academic departments with course development and with helping departments extend their reach to new student audiences. That includes providing support to departments and to faculty in the areas of program planning, program and course development and various supports as the new online programs begin to admit and teach students, according to Janet Atkinson, executive director of Boise State eCampus Center.
Wheeler said the goal of increasing educational access to anyone interested in furthering their academic and professional career goals will continue to drive the increase in online programming. Students of all ages and from all areas of the world and professional and personal backgrounds are gaining access to Boise State degrees and certificates through these online programs.
“It’s very exciting,” Wheeler noted. “The work being done by faculty and academic departments to extend their programs to new audiences is admirable, and it also positions the university for the future. The work of the eCampus staff to facilitate the growth of these new programs is impressive.”
For more information on online offerings at Boise State, visit ecampus.boisestate.edu/programs.