A decade of distance learning at BU

The Office of Distance Education's Jan Morris, Xuan Cai, and Patti McDonnell (left to right) are part of the team that brings MCJ courses to life as BU online begins to celebrate its 10th anniversary. (Photo from Metropolitan Magazine)

This September, the launch of Fall 01 classes doesn’t only signify the start of a new term, or a new academic year — it also marks the 10th anniversary of BU’s first fully online degree program and the first step taken in the university’s journey toward establishing itself as one of the  nation’s leaders in distance learning.

Those early days and BU’s rise up the ranks is profiled in the latest issue of Metropolitan Magazine, which details how that initial offering — Metropolitan College’s Master of Criminal Justice — opened with one full-time faculty member and just one class, and how the support of MET’s leadership helped foster an environment in which BU online could flourish and become what it is today. Specifically speaking, that’s a powerhouse operation offering 14 degree programs, five graduate certificates, and seven professional certificates in conjunction with 18 programs from 11 schools and colleges.

“We invested the effort, creativity, and resources to treat online education not simply as comparable to an on-campus education for working professionals, but exceptional in its own right,” MET Magazine quotes Dean Jay Halfond as saying. “And five thousand alumni later, we are pleased that we were able to provide this educational opportunity to students across the nation and globe. This is a time to celebrate, to look back, but then continue our aspirations and hard work so our next decade is even better.”

You can read the entire piece by clicking here — and we encourage you to pay particular attention to the section spotlighting the contributions of our team within the Office of Distance Education. As the article says, the tireless trio of Xuan Cai, Patti McDonnell, and Jan Morris are “committed to presenting a high-quality, innovative, and—ultimately—personalized online learning experience” for the MCJ program, and not to be overlooked are the contributions of media producers Rob Haley and Charles Southworth. They consistently enhance courses across each of BU’s online programs with first-quality videos and interactive learning objects.

And, with the rest of the office, they’ve already begun the process of bringing that expectation of excellence into decade number two.

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