Extension News

Iowa State University Fall Enrollment Up Three Percent in Continuing Education Courses

12/2/2005

AMES, Iowa - Fall 2005 registrations in courses coordinated by Iowa State University’s continuing education program totaled 2,160, an increase of 3.5 percent (90 course registrations) from fall 2004. The number of students taking courses is up 3 percent. The continuing education program offers courses by distance learning technologies and also on-site at locations away from campus.

Iowa State’s online course registrations now make up 45 percent of all continuing education college course registrations, a growth area for many colleges and universities, said Bill Tysseling, continuing education director. Web-based instructional delivery is growing as use of other technologies including videotape and the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) declines. Other distance education technologies declined from 19 percent of course registrations in fall 2004 to 15 percent in fall 2005. The balance of the courses is traditional classroom courses delivered off campus.

During the 2004-2005 academic year, Iowa State offered 258 different undergraduate and graduate courses by distance learning technologies. Of these courses, 175 were offered online.

This fall's enrollment is consistent geographically with last fall’s. Course registrations remain about 77.5 percent from Iowa residents, 22 percent from other states, and .5 percent from outside the United States.

Iowa State has record enrollments in engineering courses this fall. The College of Engineering has added new programs at a distance in the past year to total six master’s degrees and four master’s certificates. An Iowa State graduate certificate is a minimum of 12 credits and offers expertise in a specific area. Iowa State has graduate engineering certificates in environmental engineering, information assurance, power systems engineering and systems engineering.

“Adult students gain confidence that they can work full time, fulfill family obligations and take a course or two a semester while completing a graduate certificate,” said Loren Zachary, engineering assistant dean. “Often they then use those certificate credits toward a master’s degree.”

This fall the average continuing education student enrolled in 1.4 courses. The fall 2005 continuing education enrollment was 65 percent for graduate credits and 35 percent for undergraduate credits.

The College of Agriculture had 340 course registrations this semester. The College of Engineering had 390. The College of Human Sciences, which combines the former education college and family and consumer sciences college, had 640 course registrations. Iowa State’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences had 405 course registrations. The College of Business had 310 registrations and the College of Design had 42.

Distance education programming makes learning accessible to many for whom attending classes on campus would be unfeasible. Adult students (typically 25 years of age and older) say the convenience of distance learning helps them change careers, advance careers and stay current in their present careers.

“Competition for distance learners is aggressive as Iowans can take courses from institutions located throughout the country,” said Tysseling. “I’m pleased our enrollment continues to grow in the competitive market. Adult students and their employers recognize the quality of education available from Iowa State through distance learning.”

A complete list of Iowa State University distance learning programs is available at http://www.lifelearner.iastate.edu/degree.htm.

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Contacts :

William Tysseling, Continuing Education and Communication Services, (515) 294-3465, wtyss@iastate.edu
Loren Zachary, Engineering Administration, (515) 294-6326, zach@iastate.edu

Lynette Spicer, Contributing Education and Communication Services, (515) 294-1327, lspicer@iastate.edu