Initial Publication Date: November 30, 2016

Making Change Happen

Part of the InTeGrate Penn State University Program Model

Advice for Future Implementations »

High-Level Project Timeline

The five InTeGrate courses were launched to small numbers of students mostly in the blended format, but are now being offered to larger on a regular basis. Most of the courses are now also taught online. The entry course, Earth in the Future, which as not developed as part of InTeGrate, is taught every semester in online mode and is used to recruit students into other courses. The regularity of the offerings is enabling students to take multiple courses and to enroll the Certificate and Minor. Only two of the Commonwealth campuses have the resources to teach the courses in blended format. Thus there is considerable demand for courses through the e-learning cooperative program.

Year 1, Summer

  • Teach two online courses. It is critical for online degree students to have course available throughout the year.

Year 1, Fall

  • Teach three online courses that are available on the World Campus as well as through the Campus wide e-learning cooperative.
  • Teach two courses in blended format at University Park campus and two in blended format at a Commonwealth Campus.

Year 1, Spring

  • Teach three online courses that are available on the World Campus as well as through the Campus wide e-learning cooperative.
  • Teach two courses in blended format at University Park campus and one in blended format at a Commonwealth Campus.

Sustaining Change

The program model involves building three different modes of delivery of the InTeGrate courses. (1) The courses are being taught in blended format at the main campus and several Commonwealth campuses, at campuses around the country where module authors teach and at Fort Valley State University in Georgia. (2) The courses are offered online through the Penn State World Campus to students around the world. (3) Penn State Commonwealth Campus e-Education consortium. The online courses are available at six campuses with earth science programs. The goal is to allow faculty at these campuses to develop upper division earth science courses instead of teaching general education.

Key Aspects of the Program

1. The demand for online courses is growing. Students are attracted to online programs because of affordability and convenience. Thus the courses have filled rapidly. Most World Campus work full time and many students are adult learners returning to school. Students are also learning that the blended courses offer them more flexibility for work and other activities.

2. The courses are all extremely relevant topics. Faculty know this but it is very satisfying when we hear the students appreciate this. The courses are all demanding in terms of the concepts and the time involved, but feedback shows that the students appreciate the relevance of the subject materials.

3. Hard work from faculty. Faculty were dedicated to develop the courses and realized that there was a lot of up-front work with the reward being that the courses could be offered over the long term.

4. The interdisciplinary courses brought together teams of faculty who would not have collaborated had it not been for InTeGrate. The faculty have learned a lot from one another and the students have also benefited from the interdisciplinary nature of the courses.

5. The courses are all modular and developed and designed with the same principles and standards, thus there is significant potential for developing courses from modules from several courses.

6. Penn State has very well established and highly-regarded on-line program, the World Campus, with a large number of students enrolled around the world. This program helps in marketing and operating the courses and degree programs. The College of Earth and Mineral Sciences is home to the Dutton e-education Institute that employs experts in course design which is critical in launching effective educational programs.

7. The Certificate program took about two months to launch since it did not need approvals from other programs. The program is highly flexible and consists entirely of general education courses so enrollments have grown rapidly. The Minor took over a year and lot of paperwork because other colleges needed to approve it. Enrollments should grow once word gets out.