Distance Education Demonstration Program

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Project Descriptions - University of Maryland University College
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University of Maryland University College (UMUC) is one of 11 degree-granting institutions in the University System of Maryland. UMUC's mission is to serve adult, primarily part-time, students.

UMUC offers 17 online Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degree programs, which are offered onsite as well as online.

The undergraduate degrees are in the following disciplines:

  • Accounting
  • Business Administration
  • Communication Studies
  • Computer and Information Science
  • Computer Studies
  • English
  • Environmental Management
  • Fire Science
  • History
  • Human Resource Management
  • Humanities
  • Information Systems Management
  • Legal Studies
  • Management Studies
  • Marketing
  • Psychology
  • Social Science

At the graduate level, UMUC offers 19 online degree programs, the majority of which are also offered onsite, providing students the option of mixing online and onsite courses. The graduate online degree programs include:

  • Master of Arts in Teaching
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Distance Education
  • Master of Education
  • Master of International Management
  • Master of Science in Accounting and Financial Management
  • Master of Science in Accounting and Information Technology
  • Master of Science in Biotechnology Studies
  • Master of Science in Computer Systems Management
  • Master of Science in E-Commerce
  • Master of Science in Environmental Management
  • Master of Science in Financial Management and Information
  • Master of Science in Health Care Administration
  • Master of Science in Information Technology
  • Master of Science in Management
  • Master of Science in Technology Management
  • Master of Science in Telecommunications Management
  • Master of Software Engineering
  • Global Master of Business Administration

UMUC operates three divisions: Adelphi (headquarters in Maryland), Europe and Asia. The European and Asian divisions serve primarily military students and their dependents. Students enrolled in the European and Asian divisions have access to online courses offered by all three divisions. The focus of UMUC's participation in the Demonstration Program is the online programs offered through the Adelphi division.

UMUC’s fall headcounts increased close to 12,000 students from fall 1998 to fall 2003 (32,236 to 44,051); the majority of this growth is accounted for by Adelphi enrollments. Over the course of FY 2004, UMUC enrolled more than 88,000 students. This growth has been fueled by the growth in online enrollments: from 9,696 in FY 1998 to 126,650 in FY 2004.

Undergraduate online courses are offered in a variety of calendars:

  • Two standard 15-week terms plus a summer trimester.
  • Two mini terms of 7-8 weeks duration that are embedded in each standard semester.
  • A 15-week term that begins mid-term for both the spring and fall semesters. These overlapping terms begin in one semester and end in the next semester.
  • A 3-week term in January for one-credit courses.

In an agreement worked out with the Department, UMUC is allowed to include enrollment in its overlapping terms with the standard semesters rather than be considered as offering non-term undergraduate programs. The justification is that the prevailing structure is standard term and the overlap is minimal.

Graduate online courses are offered in standard 15-week terms (10 weeks in the summer for most courses). Some of the graduate programs are offered in a cohort-based nonterm structure. All courses in the 100 percent online and the combination online and face-to-face MBA programs are 14 weeks long with 4 weeks off in between semesters.


UMUC has waivers of the 50 percent rules; of the definitions of an academic year and eligible program as they relate to the requirements the definition of a week of instruction (as related to the 12-hour rule); and the definition of a full time student, which allows correspondence students to be considered full-time students.

By 2002, UMUC had surpassed the 50 percent threshold of students enrolled in telecommunications courses. In the following year (FY 2003), UMUC exceeded the 50 percent rule for course offerings. A significant number of UMUC students mix distance education and onsite courses, which is an option they have if they live near the main campus or one of the many UMUC learning centers located in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia. UMUC offers only one degree (Masters in Distance Education) that must be completed 100 percent online. All other programs offer courses in both online and face-to-face modalities.

Financial Aid Issues/Alternatives

UMUC noted in its application that the traditional "seat time" measurement does not work for distance education students since you cannot measure seat time. Since then the 12-hour rule has been removed from regulation, and academic year is measured by credits attempted for all institutions using a traditional semester calendar and also by the 30-week statutory standard.

UMUC proposes that its mid-spring and mid-fall (overlapping) terms be incorporated into a traditional semester calendar the same way that its imbedded miniterms are, rather than being treated as separate or overlapping terms. UMUC is not increasing annual aid eligibility, but rather is giving students increased flexibility to complete their coursework by staggering enrollment throughout the academic year.

UMUC is calculating cost of attendance for distance education students the same as for onsite students.

Additional Goals for Participation

In order to improve student course completion and academic persistence UMUC is analyzing retention and persistence multi-dimensionally (by academic and demographic information) and also by creating a student success profile for students enrolling in Web-based courses and programs based on more in-depth data beyond demographic variables. To assure quality comparable to classroom-based instruction, UMUC will: 1) document key aspects of the learning process in the Web-based environment (i.e., student participation and involvement in courses) and establish a systematic method for creating profiles of student participation or involvement; 2) conduct comparative studies of student learning outcomes for the same course in various modes; and 3) determine course characteristics that influence student course completion and persistence outcomes.

Consortial arrangements

UMUC participates in Maryland Online, a consortium of community colleges and universities in Maryland that offer certificate and degree programs primarily in an online format. This builds on articulation agreements that UMUC has with many Maryland community colleges whereby students complete their associate's degree at the community college and their bachelor's degree at UMUC. UMUC has developed financial aid consortial agreements with these community colleges.

Demonstration Program Cohort

University of Maryland University College joined the Distance Education Demonstration Program in July 1999 as part of the initial cohort.

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Last Modified: 04/16/2007