The Wisconsin Idea is going high-tech, according to an article in the Cap Times.
“The University of Wisconsin-Madison is working to leverage distance education to reach more students and generate more revenue,” writes Pat Schneider. “Outreach to nontraditional students reflects a bedrock value of the university and responds to a national trend in higher education.”
Schneider explores several projects at the Division of Continuing Studies that use innovative methods for connecting UW-Madison to state citizens. For example, the Distance Teaching & Learning Conference, scheduled for August 11-13 at Monona Terrace, will help Wisconsin educators learn cutting-edge techniques for use in their classrooms.
“Participants will select from workshops on such topics as designing online and blended learning programs, training online instructors, building effective interactive sessions, and strategies to retain online students,” Schneider writes.
Professional Degrees and Certificates is another Continuing Studies initiative that reaches nontraditional students through the latest technology. The new web portal aggregates UW-Madison’s options for online and flexible degree and certificate programs, making it easy for adults to continue their education while balancing career and family responsibilities.
“Key to reaching working professionals is educational programs that can fit into their busy career and personal schedules, so online learning is increasingly important,” Schneider says.
The Cap Times also notes UW-Madison’s commitment to Continuing Education through Lifelong Learning 2020, a strategic plan that aims to create transformative experiences for lifelong learners.
“There is renewed interest in understanding that audience and how to reach them with high-quality programs,” says Jeffrey S. Russell, dean of the Division of Continuing Studies. “That means we need to be flexible in terms of delivery.”
Russell points out that Continuing Studies’ recent initiatives align with the vision of UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank. Blank is an advocate for the Wisconsin Idea: the principle of using university resources to benefit the state.
“She has been very clear that she wants the campus more engaged in connecting to the citizenry, communities and business,” he says.