Release Date: October 27, 2014
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The playing field of online courses available to University at Buffalo students just expanded, thanks to Open SUNY+, a SUNY-wide online initiative that adds 56 degree and certificate programs from 17 campuses across the state.
The program, championed by SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, joins about 400 other online degree programs and 12,000 online course sections. But the additional Open SUNY+ programs feature additional support services for students and faculty, including a HelpDesk to assist students with technical questions and online academic tutoring, both offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Open SUNY embodies all of the ideals we aim to uphold in service to our students – increased access to quality higher education and improved avenues for degree completion and career success,” said Zimpher.
“The growth of Open SUNY in its first year is remarkable. We are more confident than ever that, at full scale, Open SUNY will emerge as the world’s largest online learning environment.”
Open SUNY – the system’s overall online program – will increase access, completion and success for students. It also increases SUNY’s enrollment by 100,000 students and helps meet employment needs of New York’s businesses.
The enhanced Open SUNY+ program, with its additional 56 programs, will reach as many as 6,000 additional students next semester. Additionally, the innovative Center for Online Teaching Excellence has attracted more than 750 faculty fellows in its inaugural year.
Here at UB, the Open SUNY+ program will include online courses in the Graduate School of Education, the School of Social Work and the School of Nursing.
“We are truly excited to have the opportunity to offer our trauma-informed and human rights MSW program through Open SUNY+ to anyone in our state and beyond,” says Anthony Guzman, director of online programs for the UB Social Work.
“Social work is one of the high in-demand professional careers in New York, and UB is proud to help provide future social workers that are up to the task of serving those in need and closing the gap on this high need.”
Other UB officials spoke of the advantages of linking students through online cyberspace connections.
“Our online programs attract students from all over the world,” said Christine Kroll, assistant dean for the Graduate School of Education. “All of them seek collaborative experiences with our full-time research faculty, seasoned practitioners and, equally important, each other.”
The new programs join those announced in Zimpher’s 2014 State of the University Address, bringing the total to 64 Open SUNY+ programs offered by 19 campuses. A complete program list, as well as further information for prospective students, is available at open.suny.edu.
The Open SUNY+ degree programs take advantage of unique support services designed to help students connect in the same way traditional, on-campus students and faculty connect. The 24/7 HelpDesk assists students with technical questions. Online academic tutoring also is available day or night.
Other support features include a personal student concierge who connects students to representatives from their home campus when needed. Also included is expanded access to applied learning opportunities that enhance student knowledge and give students a competitive edge by providing them with hands-on work experience in their field prior to graduation.
For faculty, SUNY has established the Center for Online Teaching Excellence (COTE), a professional development community where faculty of all levels of experience in online education from across the system have an opportunity to learn more about new online teaching practices and share ideas and techniques with colleagues across SUNY. To date, more than 750 faculty members from throughout the system are using the center.
To aid in degree-planning and student completion, the Open SUNY website includes a searchable database of offerings for students, faculty and advisers. Ultimately, SUNY will migrate its entire online portfolio to the Open SUNY+ platform.