Chapel Hill, N.C. — The digital way is steadily making its way across college campuses. Now, the University of North Carolina system has a plan to overhaul the online experience.
The UNC system plans to offer dozens of online degree, certificate and licensure programs. The concept will allow students and adults across the state the flexibility and convenience that online education provides.
"Young people and working adults all across North Carolina know they need more education to compete and win in a knowledge-based global economy,” said UNC President Erskine Bowles. "They want a degree that means something from established universities they know and trust."
UNC will offer 92 fully online degree programs (35 baccalaureate completion, 55 master’s degrees, two doctoral degrees) and more than 40 online certificate and licensure programs.
UNC Journalism professor Chris Roush teaches a class without ever leaving his office.
"I will e-mail them writing assignments at certain times and certain days," he said. "I think every class we teach eventually will have one section of it online."
It's part of a growing trend in the UNC System. The campuses plan to put more emphasis on their programs and degrees at the University of North Carolina Online.
Officials said the demand for online degrees will be driven by older, working students who do not live within commuting distance of a UNC campus.
Students will enroll in programs or courses through the campus of their choice. Degrees earned by enrolled students will look the same as a degree or diploma obtained on campus and will be awarded by the campus offering the program.
Bowles said the program will benefit state taxpayers because money will not be needed to build buildings to accommodate the extra students.
UNC system officials said they will start marketing the programs to 21- to 44-year-olds using ads on Yahoo! and Monster.com.
Fifteen of the 16 UNC campuses currently offer online options, and all are expected to have them in the fall.