Senior Vice President and Provost Stan Wearden on a big investment in digital learning with big payoff for students.

By: Columbia College Chicago Online News

In our rapidly changing digital world, distance education has been transformed through ever-evolving online learning options.

In fact, 5.8 million college students take part in online courses nationally, according to recent research from the Babson Survey Research Group.

For Columbia College Chicago, the shift to digital learning is an opportunity to serve more students in a way that works for their lifestyle, Senior Vice President and Provost Stanley Wearden said.

“Columbia College Chicago’s reputation in the creative space is historic, and as we looked around the landscape of online higher education, we didn’t see offerings in the arts,” Dr. Wearden said.

“We knew that we had an opportunity to serve a growing audience of adult learners, creatives and digital natives.”

“We knew that we had an opportunity to serve a growing audience of adult learners, creatives and digital natives.” Dr. Wearden

Columbia Online welcomed its first class of digital learning students this fall in five courses, under the direction of Vice Provost for Digital Learning Rob Green. The university launched a new set of courses on Oct. 23.

Check out the three biggest reasons Columbia Online is investing in online education with insight from Dr. Wearden.

Boundless Opportunities Through Digital Learning

As a former professor and online graduate and undergraduate course designer, Dr. Wearden is familiar with the dynamics of the classroom and the limitations faced by professors who want to provide students with a library of information during a traditional three-hour weekly class.

With online learning, those barriers all but disappear, he said.

“Digital classrooms allow the faculty to put together resources that students can review as they have time,” Dr. Wearden said. “Students like that they can take a break from the lecture, and click through resources that don’t feel like extra reading.”

“It’s a more holistic approach to education.”

Redefining Student Engagement

The benefits also extend to the classroom experience, Dr. Wearden said. While the physical classroom can let extroverts shine, digital learning provides students who are less likely to speak up with richer levels of engagement with faculty and their peers.

“I found a much higher level of student engagement in the online space,” Dr. Wearden said. “Students have fewer unanswered questions and feel more comfortable commenting.”

Fresh Courses for Modern Creatives

Perhaps most importantly, Dr. Wearden believes digital learning is critical to the future of higher education—and Columbia Online is aiming to be a leader in the space.

“Students want a college for life,” Dr. Wearden said. “They want an institution that is credible, reliable and convenient, that they can touch base with repeatedly as they advance through their careers. We want to be that institution.”

Considering how online courses can transform your creative skill set? Learn more about Columbia College Chicago Online.