Happy 15th Birthday, Penn State World Campus

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‘Twas only 15 years ago this week that the Penn State World Campus powered up its server and started offering Penn State degrees to students online. 41 students in five academic programs embarked on the maiden World Campus voyage in January 1998. Now in its 15th year, the World Campus boasts nearly 12,000 students studying more than 90 programs and degrees.

That’s nearly three Penn State Altoonas worth of online learners working for a Penn State degree.

“For 15 years, we’ve led the way in the online delivery of high-quality degrees from a high-quality institution,” said Wayne Smutz, executive director of Penn State World Campus and associate vice president for Academic Outreach. “This is accomplished by working in partnership with Penn State’s academic colleges and faculty to offer programs to adult learners who may be balancing career, family, and education.”

According to a Penn State release, students enrolled in the World Campus come from every state in the nation as well as 54 different countries. World Campus has seen double-digit enrollment growth over the last five years, due in part to the praise the online learning platform has received.

According to the U.S. News and World Report’s 2013 Best Online Education Program Rankings,World Campus ranked:

  • No. 2 for online graduate engineering programs.
  • No. 5 for online graduate computer information technology programs.
  • No. 16 for online bachelor’s degree programs.
  • No. 19 for online graduate business programs.
  • No. 25 for online graduate education programs.

“It is deeply gratifying to have so many of Penn State’s online programs recognized among the best by U.S. News,” said Smutz. “These rankings attest to the success of the World Campus and academic colleges’ collaborations to deliver high-quality education programs in a format that is convenient for busy adults seeking education to expand their career options.”

Penn State is continuing to search for more ways to utilize online education, most recently in a discussion at the newly formed Blue White Council meeting.

According to Michael Horn, the director of the Innosight Institute, 50 percent of all college students will be taking at least one online course by 2015; by 2019, 50 percent of high school courses are expected to have some sort of online learning component.

Penn State Live has some great coverage of that meeting.

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About Author

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014, and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is a director of the Nittany Valley Society 501(c)(3) and is involved in student government.

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