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Semester Online Consortium

Last fall, Wake Forest joined peer institutions across the country in a ‘Semester Online’ consortium. Semester Online will allow students to work towards their degree while fulfilling other commitments but will not serve as a substitute for on-campus classroom education. In a letter to the Wake Forest community, below, Provost Rogan Kersh and Dean of the College Jacque Fetrow gave more insight into this opportunity:

Dear Reynolda Campus Faculty, Staff and Students,

Early this fall semester, Wake Forest had the opportunity to join a new ‘Semester Online’ consortium of top-tier colleges and universities, in collaboration with 2U (formerly 2Tor). We decided to join consortium schools – Brandeis University, Duke University, Emory University, Northwestern University, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Notre Dame, University of Rochester, Vanderbilt University, and Washington University in St. Louis – in helping to shape and develop Semester Online, which is intended to offer undergraduate students the opportunity to take rigorous, online courses for credit from some of the country’s top schools.

Today Semester Online was publicly announced, though many details of the program remain to be discussed among Wake Forest faculty, staff, and students as well as consortium schools.

It is important to note that Semester Online is not meant as a substitute for on-campus classroom education. Instead, the program will allow students to continue taking classes towards a degree while working, traveling or managing personal commitments – from studying abroad to fulfilling family obligations – that might otherwise mean putting their studies on hold.

Semester Online courses will feature the same faculty and curricula as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, and they are delivered live on an interactive, online platform. Through a virtual classroom, students will collaborate with peers and be guided by renowned professors at consortium schools.

We all embrace the face-to-face, residential college model as foundational to a Wake Forest education. At the heart of our liberal arts commitment is helping our students develop the abilities to write effectively, discuss rationally, create original work, solve problems imaginatively, and learn independently – in short, to live a fulfilling, reflective life. Technology can be a valuable supplement to this commitment; it is vital that we continue exploring how best to use its fruits as a tool in delivering a Wake Forest-style education.

We would be glad to hear your thoughts on how best to help shape Semester Online, or other online-learning activities, as we continue to discuss its evolution with other Consortium members and 2U. Please feel free to contact us with questions and suggestions.

Appreciatively,

Rogan Kersh,
Provost

Jacque Fetrow
Dean of the College

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