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Saying No to Fully Online

By Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed

UF Online, the University of Florida's online education arm, won't offer a political science degree after the department, concerned about quality and the state's shifting leadership, voted against the idea.

Unlike many online education initiatives, which target adult learners and other groups of students not normally served by course offerings on campus, UF Online is meant to educate first-time-in-college students -- high school graduates between the ages of 18 and 22. When a department at UF declines to participate, it creates a hole in UF Online’s lineup.

The decision wasn’t based on passionate opposition to online education, said Ido Oren, associate professor and chair of the political science department. The department already offers online versions of several of its introductory and upper-level courses, but the idea of stringing those courses into -- and developing a number of new courses for -- a fully online major gave some faculty members pause.

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