Penn State World Campus
Penn State World Campus (World Campus or Penn State Online, a part of Pennsylvania State University or PSU) seeks to connect learners with Penn State resources through a variety of course delivery technologies and methods. World Campus courses are taught by the same faculty who teach at Penn State’s brick-and-mortar campuses. Once completed, online degrees are not distinguishable from their face-to-face counterparts.
Penn State World Campus is one of Penn State's 25 campus locations, with offices in Innovation Park on the University Park campus, Illinois, US. Other Pennsylvania State University sites include Altoona, Lehigh Valley, the Dickinson School of Law, Erie’s Behrend College, and the Hershey Medical Center and College of Medicine (for a full list see http://www.psu.edu/ur/cmpcoll.html).
The World Campus presently delivers almost 60 distance education programmes to learners in 55 different countries. These include certificates, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Enrolments exceed 17,000 annually, representing roughly 7,500 individual students.
Credit courses are generally between 12 and 15 weeks long; students choose between “Online Group” study, in which they interact with their instructors and other students, and “Online Individual” study, in which they interact one-on-one with their instructors only. All World Campus examinations are administered in person by qualified proctors (who must be verified by Penn State). Certain postgraduate degrees require a short residency, but most programmes are delivered entirely online.
Since 2001, Penn State faculty has used the ANGEL course management system to share class materials, deliver quizzes, have online discussions and collect assignments.
As of September 2008, World Campus had seen 19% growth over the previous year. 537 courses were available, reflecting 33 certificates, 15 undergraduate degrees, and 11 postgraduate degrees.
The Penn State World Campus web site is at http://www.worldcampus.psu.edu/ .
Penn State was founded in 1855 as an agricultural college, and began offering correspondence courses in agriculture in 1892. Its first online education course was offered in 1998; its first online master’s in 1999; and its first online bachelor's in 2001.
Penn state is not state-owned or –operated, but has the 'character' of a public university and as such as often referred to as one. It receives substantial state appropriations. Total student enrolment across all campuses is over 84,000 (with 5,500 faculty members).
A wealth of resources is made available to faculty seeking assistance with learning technology. Technology Learning Assistantants (TLAs) are available for one-to-one sessions to demonstrate services such as ANGEL, podcasting and iTunes U, Adobe Connect desktop videoconferencing, ITS Streaming Services, and the Penn State Blog.
See http://chronicle.com/free/v54/i46/46a00103.htm for information about World Campus’s ongoing tests with the Webassessor automated exam proctoring system:
- [Webassessor] uses proctors, Web cameras, and software that recognizes students' typing styles, such as their speed and whether they pause between certain letters. Students purchase the cameras for $50 to $80 apiece. They allow proctors to view a student's face, keyboard, and workspace…if the keystroke pattern of a student who is taking an exam does not match the one he or she provided at registration, or if the image of a student taking an exam does not match… then the student cannot start the exam.
- ..."At the moment, things look promising for a complete rollout," says Rick L. Shearer, interim director of World Campus Learning Design, a division of World Campus.
See the Penn State Blog at http://blog.worldcampus.psu.edu/.