New website offers connection to UMS online programs

Posted April 05, 2011, at 12:59 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — University College, the distance education organization of the University of Maine System, this week launched a new website designed to offer people a convenient, one-stop source of information about the online and blended programs of Maine’s seven campuses.

Online.maine.edu is a collaborative effort of the system, according to a press release issued by UMS spokeswoman Peggy Markson. The UMS board of trustees earlier this year approved gathering the system’s online programs into a single website to make them more visible and to allow users to compare programs from all seven campuses.

More than 45 online programs are listed on the website, including degree programs in Information and Library Services from the University of Maine at Augusta, Electrical Engineering from the University of Maine, Criminal Justice from University of Maine at Fort Kent, and Adult and Higher Education from the University of Southern Maine in Portland.

“This website represents another step forward in expanding access to higher education in Maine,” Curt Madison, director of distance education for UMS, said in the press release. “We are excited about the potential of this comprehensive communication tool to raise awareness about the variety of programs available online by our public universities.”

Features include the ability to search online and blended programs, an overview of the programs’ goals and requirements, direct connection to program staff and a link to the programs’ admissions resources.

Statistics presented to trustees in January showed that in the fall of 2009, 30 percent of all higher-education students in the country were enrolled in at least one online course. As of fall 2010, 11.7 percent of all credit hours in the system were taken online, a 24 percent increase over the previous year, Madison said.

Students now may take an online course toward a degree from a particular campus, but online degrees alone have not been offered, according to Madison. Theoretically, a person could earn a degree through the program taking online courses originating on all seven campuses, he told trustees in January.

The program has been designed to attract more students who live near a campus and need to take at least half their courses online because of life circumstances and to attract a new population of students who are not able to come to a campus at all.

For more information about online.maine.edu, call 1-800-868-7000 or email ucls@maine.edu.

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