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Virtual University gets real at U of M and beyond

August 15, 2013 — 

At the University of Manitoba, 30 per cent of part-time students took an online course last year. Several degree programs are available entirely online, including a bachelor’s degree in social work. These anytime and anywhere options allow students to overcome the barriers of distance and time, and balance work and family commitments.

Registrations in online courses bumped the 200,000 mark last year at 11 Canadian universities belonging to the Canadian Virtual University (CVU) consortium, the national organization of English and French universities specializing in online and distance education.

“This is a 70 per cent increase since 2000, the year the consortium began sharing data,” states Vicky Busch, executive director of CVU.

“Since the establishment of CVU in 2000, increasing access to university education has been central to its mandate,” notes Lori Wallace, chair of the CVU board and dean of Extended Education at the U of M. “As demonstration of this commitment, member universities accept one another’s courses for transfer credit where they meet program requirements and we waive certain administrative fees to facilitate our students enrolling in courses from partner universities.”

CVU is a consortium of innovative Canadian universities collaborating in online and distance education to facilitate access to, and student mobility within, university education; to increase flexibility for learners; to encourage joint program development; and to disseminate best practices across Canada and around the world.

In addition to the University of Manitoba, CVU members are: Athabasca University, Carleton University, Laurentian University, Memorial University, Mount Royal University, Royal Military College of Canada, Royal Roads University, TÉLUQ, Thompson Rivers University and University of New Brunswick.

CVU members reported 210,000 registrations by 100,500 students in over 630,000 course credit hours in the 2012-13 academic year. CVU universities collectively offer over 2,000 courses and 400 programs which students can easily search from a single website.

This article first appeared in the August 15, 2013 edition of The Bulletin.


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