Decisions about which courses will be offered online are made at the Department and College level. The decision to offer a course online may be prompted by a number of variables. Sometimes an individual faculty member will want to offer a course online and will develop the course for this delivery method. Sometimes students will request that a course be offered online, and the department may respond to this interest. Sometimes EIO or the College identifies courses that would assist off-campus or online students to complete their degrees and/or provide greater efficiency for the university (such as combining students at two or more sites to make a full class). When these needs/desires become known, it is the responsibility of the department leadership to determine whether they will offer the course online, whether the course should be developed if it has not previously been developed, etc. It is widely understood that not all classes lend themselves equally well to online delivery; nevertheless, across the country, an increasing number of courses are successfully taking advantage of technology and online delivery.
Class sizes were thought to be at the same size as approved by the Curriculum Committee when courses were approved or revised. However, in some departments, special consideration has been allowed for online sections because they were thought to be more time intensive. Some believed these to be “pilot” activities, but the subject of class size has become one of significant concern for many. At this time, class sizes are determined by the department and college offering the courses, with consideration given to the type of course, interactions between faculty and students, etc. Additional consideration should also be given to teaching techniques which would allow for high quality online instruction but without increasing the time and effort in teaching these courses.
As Ferris has become more and more strategic with regard to online programs and online course delivery, we have also created several long range planning documents to assist both students and departments in their planning. At this time, these exist as separate documents for Health Professions, Arts and Sciences and Business. As these become more reliable in terms of consistency, we will begin to share these in a broader sense with students so they can better plan their course selections for upcoming semesters.