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University of Missouri Launches Platform for Online Classes

This week the university system launched Missouri Online, representing a $20-million investment to support system-wide infrastructure and make more than 260 programs from four campuses available online.

by Roger McKinney, Columbia Daily Tribune, Mo. / March 10, 2021
University of Missouri. TNS

(TNS) – A one-stop platform for online courses at all University of Missouri System campuses launched Tuesday as Missouri Online. 

More than 260 programs, including 22 new programs, are accessible from all four universities in the single platform.

A $20 million investment was made to support the system-wide infrastructure, according to a news release.

The platform could be useful for the 900,000 Missourians who started college and never finished, said Matt Gunkel, UM System chief online learning and technology officer, during a presentation.

The system has a goal of 10,000 online students by 2023, said system President and MU Chancellor Mun Choi.

"In 2018, together with the Board of Curators, we made a declaration to be a premier e-learning provider," Choi said. "We've made significant growth."

The infrastructure was important when all classes were forced online last spring because of the pandemic, Choi said.

"Our enhanced resources became a critical tool during the pandemic," Choi said.

The online platform allows faculty members to be creative and allows students to work on assignments collaboratively, said Viviana Grieco, associate professor of history and Latin American and Latinx Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

"During the pandemic, we were able to scale up," Grieco said during a news conference. "Whatever we have in place can be enhanced. You can always scale up."

Not all students have reliable internet access, she said.

"That's something that's a concern throughout the state," Grieco said.

As students are transitioning from high school to university, it's important they have access to high-quality online courses, said Kristin Sobolik, University of Missouri-St. Louis chancellor.

"It's also important to support students," she said.

Angela Tennison is an associate dean at MU while pursuing an online degree at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla.

"I was new to online learning," she said. She said she feels like she knows her classmates, who are from around the country. She also able to translate her experiences to her online students, she said.

The UM System Board of Curators had the vision for improving online offerings before he was hired, Choi said.

"The hard work's been done," Choi said. "Now faculty members can place their best programs in the e-learning platform."

(c)2021 Columbia Daily Tribune, Mo. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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