Initiatives: Online Learning

We define "online learning" to be any learning environment that makes substantive use of a web-based component that enables collaboration and access to content beyond the classroom. Online learning strategies across the USM, therefore, run the gamut from fully online degree/certificate programs, to MOOCs, to hybrid and "flipped" courses.

The Kirwan Center has also launched a system-wide online learning strategic planning process to assist USM institutions in developing goals and approaches to online education and tapping new market segments.

Additionally, the University System of Maryland (USM) has entered into a groundbreaking partnership with edX, the nonprofit online learning destination founded by Harvard and MIT in 2012 to increase global access to high-quality education. The agreement is designed to further increase student success, as well as the access, affordability, and quality of higher education in Maryland and around the world.  The partnership has launched USMx, free online courses offered by the University System of Maryland through the edX platform, and MicroMasters® Programs, free, non-credit master's level courses, which can accelerate the pathway to an advanced degree and save students thousands of dollars in tuition and fees.

    In addition to UMUC, which offers over 90 fully online programs, the USM now has 44 degree programs offered entirely online.

    Our Work in Online Learning

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    December 21, 2015

    Ithaka S+R worked with five campuses in the University System of Maryland to explore whether an adaptive learning product provided by Pearson could be used to offer more accessible, lower-cost summer programs. The Pearson product, MyFoundationsLab, enhanced with Knewton’s adaptive learning engine, aims to personalize study paths for students. Adaptive technologies enable students to identify specific skill gaps and work independently online to address those gaps with interactive instructional materials and assessments. We tested the hypothesis that technology could replace some or all of the traditional instructor-led class time required to help students improve their college readiness while substantially reducing the costs of the intervention.

    May 11, 2015

    UMCP is in their second year of partnership with Coursera to offer MOOCs ranging from Quantum Physics to Women and Civil Rights. With over 800,000 students registered and ~13,000 signed up for the verified “signature track” option (for a fee), they are not only showing our educational leadership, but also directly improving their on-campus classes.

    July 24, 2014

    The University of Baltimore (UB) is working with Pulitzer-prize winning historian Taylor Branch and the USMCAI to offer the course “Citizenship and Freedom: The Civil Rights Era” in an innovative, online, for-credit format. Unlike MOOCs, this course is based on a seminar format that promises synchronous interactivity. Also unlike MOOCs, this course features a blend of lecture, panels, and real-time Q&A with the virtual audience.