Have an Idea for an Online Class? Submit it for the General Education Academy

Have an Idea for an Online Class? Submit it for the General Education Academy

By University Relations - Communications
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The new General Education Academy will help the UA enhance the quality of its online general education offerings.
The new General Education Academy will help the UA enhance the quality of its online general education offerings.

Next fall, the UA will drastically expand its online course offerings, and University faculty members have a chance to be part of the process.

Faculty members are invited to submit proposals for online courses to be offered through the University's new General Education Academy. All proposed classes – whether they are currently fully online or not – will be considered for inclusion, especially those that feature interdisciplinary collaborations. Applications should be submitted to Abra McAndrew at mcandrew@email.arizona.edu by 5 p.m. on Nov. 4.

The goal of the General Education Academy is to help the UA manage the quality of its online general education offerings. The initiative will also create a community for online instructors and foster the development of cutting-edge resources for online students and teachers.

One of the goals outlined in the UA's Never Settle strategic academic and business plan is to support online course and program development. Vincent Del Casino Jr., vice provost of digital learning and student engagement and associate vice president of student affairs and enrollment management, said the University will increase access to higher education in Arizona and beyond by further developing its online offerings.

"Offering fully online undergraduate degrees will expand the UA's reach to students who otherwise would not have access to a UA degree, or would not have thought of themselves as UA students even though they meet all of our existing admissions requirements," he said.

The courses offered through the General Education Academy will target first-year and early transfer undergraduate students who are interested in earning their UA degree by taking classes online.

Del Casino said the typical online learner is different than the average undergraduate student who takes in-person classes at the UA. He said the typical online learner is 28 or older, highly motivated to earn a degree and has a level of maturity that comes with life experience.

"These learners, when engaged, are really a lot of fun to teach," Del Casino said. "The investment we are making to make it possible for faculty to develop a course for the General Education Academy, as well as the interdisciplinary faculty community we will create around this project, are additional incentives that we hope will make participation attractive for faculty."

Del Casino said the creation of the General Education Academy will help the UA address one of the most significant challenges of online education – student retention.

"Student retention ... is tied to the ability to deliver content in a meaningful, interactive way," he said. "Within this context, we have to build high-quality experiences that demand an equal amount from our fully online learners as it does for our current main campus students. To meet this ambitious goal, we want to build an academy membership that values and builds on the strong interdisciplinary traditions of the UA."

Click here (PDF) for more information about the General Education Academy, as well as the course proposal requirements and application.

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