2021 SEM Update - Goal 7


Goal  7  Increase enrollment of new fall students in online programs

  • We saw an increase in students taking online classes due to the pandemic, but this is distinct from the students who are enrolled in online degree programs.  We saw an increase of 10% in students enrolled in online major programs this fall, resembling similar strong growth over the past four years.  We have 12 undergraduate programs, 11 graduate programs, and 9 fully online certificates.  Online degree programs are particularly appealing to returning students who may have taken some courses in the past, and are hoping to complete their degree, but need the flexibility of an online program.  

This chart shows the number of students in online degree programs. The chart shows overall growth from 2015 through 2020, as the number of students grow from 500 up to 1,688 in 2020.  The chart also divides the students into new online majors and returning online students in each year.  The number of new online students starts at 157 and rises to 324 in 2018, and that has more modest growth up to 345 in 2020.  The returning student numbers start a 343 and grown steadily over time to 1,343 in 2020.

Recruitment and Retention Tips:

  • As students “Think 30” (30 credit hours per year to finish their degree in four years), providing flexible course scheduling through online, hybrid, 8 week, and pre-session classes helps them stay on track.
  • Establish a one-on-one connection with your online students from day one.  It will help them stay engaged in the course.  Use their names each time you correspond with them to reinforce these connections. 
  • Help create community in an online course by connection students with their peers through wikis, discussion boards, and other ‘cloud community’ options. 

SEM Shout Outs:   

  • To John Sandlin, Online Learning/College of Health Professions, for his dedicated service to our healthcare students who are working and returning to school.  He works hard to connect with them at a time that is convenient for them, and is a tireless advocate on their behalf.