Published : Saturday, 24 Nov 2012, 9:32 AM EST
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -- Students from around the world could participate in classes at Indiana University via the Web under the university's aggressive new online education model.
The $8 million move to massive open online courses, or MOOCs, will offer educational badges to students who complete the courses and master certain skills but don't enroll in degree programs.
IU President Michael McRobbie says the new program, which replaces its School of Continuing Studies, will allow the university "to `project' itself beyond the walls of the campuses, and equally importantly, the walls of the classroom of the 21st century."
IU Online will create Web-based undergraduate and graduate degree programs and provide online options for high-enrollment undergraduate courses to reduce the time it takes students to complete degrees.
The Indianapolis Business Journal reports (http://bit.ly/ROxqND) that IU expects to increase its online undergraduate degree and certificate programs in areas including business, technology and sciences. Every IU graduate-level professional school will develop at least one online degree or certificate by next fall.
Online learning isn't new. But the concept of the badges is drawing attention.
While the badges could expand revenue for traditional colleges, they could deal a blow to online for-profit educators such as Carmel-based ITT Educational Services Inc.
Indiana Higher Education Commissioner Teresa Lubbers said MOOCs will clearly be "at the front and center" of higher education discussions as states look for more ways to educate students.