Just like anything else, higher education has trends and fads.
Cornerstone University strategically waited to adopt online education until it proved to be something more.
For the first time this summer, CU will be launching online courses for about half of their general core curriculum.
“We are in a landscape now where we’ve figured out what the tools are and how online can enhance our learning opportunity,” Martin Hughes, dean of undergraduate education, said.
Hughes said that this is part of a broader initiative. CU’s three divisions, Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, Professional Graduate Studies and the Traditional Undergraduate, are all moving forward with online development.
While the PGS and GRTS are using online courses to increase enrollment, the undergraduate goal is a little different.
“We aren’t interested in becoming an online university,” Hughes said. “We are interested in maintaining our residential focus but doing so in a way that accommodates student’s lives.”
During the summers, many students take classes at other educational institutions and transfer those credits to CU.
“We know students take classes elsewhere for finances and schedule, and we want to give students other options,” Hughes said.
Provost Rick Ostrander hopes that these online course offerings will provide the flexibility students need.
“We’d rather have you come to Cornerstone than go somewhere else,” Ostrander said. “The emphasis isn’t to gain more revenue or sell courses but to provide a better academic experience for students that offers greater convenience.”
The Core Curriculum committee approved the following courses: Writing in Culture (ENG 212), World Civilizations II (HIS 114), Old Testament Literature (REL 104), Science in Culture (SCI 311), and Intro to Sociology (SOC 111).
These courses will be available starting summer 2014. Students will be able to register in the spring.
“We want to get the word out now so students can plan their spring schedule accordingly,” Hughes said. He said students should consider how their spring schedule might be affected by classes they can take in the summer time.
Online courses, developed by CU faculty, will last approximately 7-8 weeks. While CU plans to offer courses at a competitive rate to other universities, they will assure that they remain consistent with their high quality education and Christian perspective.
For more information on CU's mission and vision, visit: http://www.cornerstone.edu/our-vision