With online degree programs and distance learning becoming increasingly used by both traditional and nontraditional students, the University of Wisconsin System wanted to come up with one website to act as the portal to all its wide-ranging distance learning courses, certificate programs and degree programs. Now all of that information, from UW-Platteville to UW-Superior, can be browsed at ecampus.wisconsin.edu.
There are 27 online bachelor of arts degrees alone, 30 master's programs, and as many certificate programs. There are just two doctoral programs - both in nursing, out of UW-Milwaukee. There are degree and certificate programs across 26 campuses. And if the course you want to study isn't there, an interdisciplinary, individually designed major for a bachelor's degree is offered- it's through UW-Superior. Yet you can study from your home in balmy Middleton.
There's even an online certificate program for becoming a distance learning teacher - creating an interesting double-distance learning situation. It's offered through the UW-Madison.
Classes are taught only by UW professors, and online learners are granted the same degrees and certificates as UW students who physically attend classes on campus. There's nothing that says the degree was earned online.
The mission is to maximize access to higher education, especially to nontraditional students, extending the "Wisconsin Idea" into the 21st century. Right now, a quarter of Wisconsin residents have a bachelor's degree, lower than the national average, and ecampus is one way the UW System aims to change that. The goal is to increase that number by 30% between now and 2025.
On the site, each program is described in brief, with required courses, admission requirements, cost, a number to call for more information, and a link to the program's own website, where even more info is available.
It's also possible to look at a sample course to get a better idea of what a class would be like, download career-advice webinars, and visit a virtual "student union."
The student union, an area that offers live streaming of Wisconsin Public Radio and a blog centered on career advice, may lack the allure of UW-Madison's Memorial Union - no beer, and no lake views - but it's a nice thought. Once enrolled, students do link up more personally via chat sessions, Facebook and othersocial media available to anyone with Internet access.