Self-Paced Online Courses Reduced in Fall 2022, Phased Out by Fall 2023

The U of A will phase out Self-Paced Online Courses by offering a reduced number of courses in Fall 2022 and ending offerings in 2023. Academic advisers and students should note this plan when developing course schedules.

Self-Paced Online Courses are the most flexible way to earn academic credit, and these courses do not follow traditional semester timelines. However, the demand for these courses has declined significantly over the past eight years. Self-paced enrollments dropped from 1,221 in 2014 to 699 in 2021, the latest numbers available.

The U of A Global Campus, which facilitates Self-Paced Online Courses, collaborated with the campus’s academic leaders to develop the phase-out plan.

“This is a bittersweet, but necessary, step in the evolution of distance education,” said Cheryl Murphy, vice provost for distance education and head of the Global Campus.

The roots of today’s distance education can be traced back to earliest versions of self-paced courses, including the paper-based correspondence courses that traveled through the US Postal Service for about 100 years, according to Nancy Arnold, director of credit studies at the Global Campus .

Global Campus staff who support self-paced courses will continue to see their daily tasks evolve and change to align with the modern missions of the Global Campus and the U of A.

plan

Murphy and Arnold are working with academic departments and faculty to phase out the self-paced courses as smoothly as possible and to help students find other options, such as online courses, to reach their academic goals. The plan includes:

  • Reducing the number of self-paced courses offered from 31 to 15 this month, June 2022.
  • Setting the last day a person can request enrollment in a self-paced course to be June 18, 2023.

A Milestone in History

The end of self-paced courses will be a significant moment in the evolution of distance education. Global Campus records show students were taking paper-based correspondence courses in the 1910s. The paper-based courses ended in 2013 when the U of A restructured its correspondence program.

A new model called “Self-Paced Online Courses” was developed to ensure that “these courses meet the high-quality standards and expectations of all other educational endeavors at the University of Arkansas,” according to the 2012-2013 Global Campus Annual Report. In FY 2013, students seeking a bachelor’s degree had access to only one online bachelor’s degree-completion program at the U of A.

Today, students can choose from a dozen online bachelor’s degree programs and hundreds of online courses.

“The end of self-paced online courses in 2023 will be bittersweet for many people, especially instructors who have taught some version of correspondence courses for decades,” Arnold said. “We honor them and their contributions to what has become today’s distance education.”

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