Summer student enrollment has reached a three-year high at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, and as the numbers increase, so too does the number of students opting to take courses online or in an online/on-campus hybrid fashion.
UW Oshkosh “Summer Session” enrollment reached 3,013 students as the term began on June 10. That represented a three-year high, up from 2,889 students (a 4.3 percent increase) in summer 2012 enrollment.
Of the more than 3,000 students this summer, 2,629 are either online or hybrid students, representing 87.3 percent of the total Summer Session enrollment. “Hybrid” courses are those in which at least 25 percent of the course is delivered online.
While UW Oshkosh’s 2013 Summer Session features 10 fewer sections of courses, the enrollment in strictly online courses has increased by 10 percent over 2012, said Kathy Lynch, Summer Session marketing coordinator.
Lynch said the demand for convenient, quality, online learning coupled with the dedication of students eager to continue pursuing degrees outside of the traditional fall and spring semester schedules has driven the online and hybrid course-taker population.
“Students appreciate the flexibility of online – hybrid courses especially in the summer,” she said. “We have been working through surveys and online requests to offer the classes that students need. They can request courses all year round on the summer session website.”
The online and hybrid student Summer Session numbers are on a growth trend, increasing 15.8 percent since the summer of 2012 and a whopping 92.9 percent since 2009, when the University began more aggressively tracking online and hybrid course enrollments.
UW Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells shared the good news with a group of more than 100 faculty and staff, community members, business leaders and alumni during a June 10 University strategic planning session. Not only did the session coincide with the start of the 2013 Summer Session, its main objective was to encourage an array of UW Oshkosh stakeholders to deeply examine the online future for higher education and offer some feedback on UW Oshkosh’s efforts and opportunities.
Wells said the institution’s efforts have been deliberate, focused on quality and responsive technological change and student-learner demand, now and into the future.
“That didn’t happen accidentally,” he said, referring to the Summer Session growth.
UW Oshkosh faculty, too, have helped strengthen the online interest. More and more faculty and academic instructional staff are teaching online courses. The greater demand and the increased delivery have helped propel the marketing of the Summer Session experience, Lynch said.
UW Oshkosh’s summer session schedule runs through Aug. 2, and the institution currently offers 390 different courses as part of the almost two-month-long session. The Colleges of Nursing, Business, Letters and Science, Education and Human Services and Graduate Studies programs are each represented.
“Students have discovered that Summer Session helps them to guarantee that they graduate on schedule or allows them to add a course that they could not fit in during the regular semester,” Lynch said. “Through social media we have been announcing new courses and events that will be occurring during the summer… We are getting the word out that UW Oshkosh has a lot to offer in the summer.”