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Columbia Missourian

Two MU distance learning programs merge to create Mizzou Online

By Raymond Howze
August 25, 2011 | 8:52 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — On the 100th anniversary of distance education at MU this year, two distance learning programs are merging into one: Mizzou Online.

The first program, The Center for Distance and Independent Study, offered general studies classes set to the students' own timelines and one bachelor's degree program. The second, MU Direct: Continuing and Distance Education, offered semester courses, graduate degrees and four bachelor's degree programs. All of these will be offered through Mizzou Online.

Stacy Snow, Mizzou Online interim director of marketing, said the merge will bring efficiency to distance learning programs. “We wanted to make it easier (for students) to understand how to get distant education from the university.”

More than 8,000 students are enrolled in either a full or hybrid version of an online course. Mizzou Online provides more than 500 courses and more than 75 degree options.  

The students currently in online programs will see little change in their courses, Snow said. “The only difference is that the name is different."

Gera Burton and Kim Siegenthaler will serve as interim co-directors of Mizzou Online this year.

Two groups, The MU Faculty Task Force and the MU Office of the Provost, along with the interim vice provost for eLearning, will work together on policy and operations for online education as the program is developed, Snow said.

“Before, there were two separate websites and two numbers," Snow said. She said the new program will "serve all distance students' needs under one umbrella.”

Long distance education at MU began in 1911 with correspondence courses. That office grew into the Center for Distance and Independent Study, Snow said. The MU Direct: Continuing and Distance Education office brought its degree programs in the '90s.