Thursday, February 2, 2012

SMU to offer 2012 online summer courses

By Samantha Borawski
Cardinal Staff

Saint Mary’s University will be offering a selection of undergraduate courses online for its students this summer.

Based on a survey given to students by the Office of Academic Affairs, 128 respondents (88 percent) said they were interested in taking a course online through SMU during the summer. Nothing has been finalized as of now and meetings are taking place to determine specific details.

At this point, approximately 12 courses may be offered mainly focusing in the business core and general education. The courses will be fit into an eight-week time period, starting soon after spring semester classes finish in May. The cost and registration days are yet to be determined.

In the first two weeks back at school from Christmas Recess, students were asked to provide feedback by filling out an online survey about classes they would be interested in taking if they were offered. The purpose of the survey was to have an informal, non-mandatory questionnaire to see which classes students have an interest in taking.

“We knew which courses the faculty were interested in, but it was important to have the point of view from the students as well,” said Jason Spartz, director of instructional technology.

Spartz and Dr. Donna Aronson, vice president for academic affairs, have been working closely to choose the online classes as well as try to offer some blended classes, which consist of both online and face-to-face learning.

This will not be the first time online summer courses will be offered at SMU. Last summer, three business core courses were offered to students as a preliminary test. The idea for online classes began after a two-day workshop presented by the UW-Milwaukee Learning Technologies Center, which over 40 teachers of the SMU community attended, according to

Though the online courses are in their first stages of development, teachers are excited about the opportunity for students to take courses online over the summer. This is especially true of the business department, which has many courses ready to be turned into online summer courses.

“The courses will help students who want to graduate in four years accomplish it,” said Spartz. “[Online] is a new medium to provide learning that I do not see going away in the future.”

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