Self-paced online courses reduced in fall 2022, phased out by fall 2023

The U of A will phase out self-paced online courses by offering a reduced number of courses in fall 2022 and ending offerings in 2023. Academic advisors and students should note this plan when developing lesson times.

Self-paced online courses are the most flexible way to earn academic credit, and these courses do not follow traditional semester schedules. However, the demand for these courses has dropped significantly over the past eight years. Self-paced registrations have increased from 1,221 in 2014 to 699 in 2021, the latest figures available.

The U of A’s Global Campus, which facilitates self-paced online classes, worked with campus academic officials to develop the disposal plan.

“This is a bittersweet, but necessary, step in the evolution of distance education,” said Cheryl Murphy, vice provost for distance education and head of Global Campus.

The roots of distance learning today can be traced to early versions of self-paced courses, including paper-based correspondence courses that have plagued the U.S. Postal Service for about 100 years, according to Nancy Arnold, director of studies. credit at Global Campus.

Global Campus staff supporting self-paced coursework will continue to see their day-to-day duties evolve and change to align with modern Global Campus and U of A missions.

The plan

Murphy and Arnold are working with university departments and faculty to eliminate self-paced courses as easily as possible and to help students find other options, such as online courses, to achieve their academic goals. The package includes:

  • Reduced the number of self-paced classes offered from 31 to 15 this month, June 2022.
  • Set the last day that a person can request registration for a self-paced course to June 18, 2023.

A milestone in history

The end of self-study courses will be an important moment in the evolution of distance education. Global Campus records show that students were taking paper-based correspondence courses in the 1910s. Paper-based courses ended in 2013 when the University of Alberta restructured its correspondence program.

A new model called “Self-Paced Online Courses” was developed to ensure that “these courses meet the high-quality standards and expectations of all other educational activities at the University of Arkansas,” according to the annual report. 2012-2013 from the Global Campus. In fiscal year 2013, students seeking a bachelor’s degree had access to only one online bachelor’s degree program at the U of A.

Today, students can choose from a dozen online bachelor’s degree programs and hundreds of online courses.

“The end of self-paced online courses in 2023 will be bittersweet for many people, especially instructors who have taught a version of distance learning courses for decades,” Arnold said. “We honor them and their contributions to what has become today’s distance education.”

Karen O. Fielding