What We Do

Advance Online Education

The options for online learning at Penn State are as diverse as our students, colleges, and campuses. Our options for online education provide students with the flexibility to learn and complete their degrees in ways that work for them and that draw on the full resources of the University.

Credit Courses

There are three primary options Penn State academic partners can choose from when considering offering online credit courses and programs:

WEB Courses

When an academic department offers a course in a 100% online format to its own residential students, the course is designated as a “WEB” course on that campus’ Schedule of Courses. WEB courses have no meeting times or dates, as 100% of the course is delivered asynchronously online. No coordination with the Office of the Vice Provost for Online Education is required to offer WEB courses as part of your resident education.

Penn State World Campus

Penn State policy AD55 designates World Campus as the single delivery unit for credit programs offered at a distance. More than 175 degree and certificate programs are available online via partnerships between World Campus and University academic units.

Digital Learning Cooperative

The Digital Learning Cooperative (DLC) is a mechanism for sharing courses between physical Penn State campuses. While the courses being shared are often 100% online, the DLC is administered through the Office of the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses.

Video courses, hybrid courses, flex courses, and other delivery types are permitted to be shared via the DLC. The Digital Learning Cooperative website is a seat reservation system used by schedulers at Penn State campuses. One campus serves as the “offering” campus by making spaces in one of its courses available to other campuses to “receive.” Via this seat exchange, campuses can schedule courses for students in residence at other Penn State campus locations. Each campus controls the schedule of courses made available to students at their campus.

View the Digital Learning Cooperative’s Frequently Asked Questions.

Noncredit Courses

Built upon the experience of developing World Campus into the second-largest Penn State campus, the University depends on the expertise, knowledge, and innovation held in Online Education to guide the development of online noncredit courses and programs. 

Online Noncredit Offerings

If you have a question or have a noncredit course or certificate idea for online delivery, the course must be reviewed to ensure it complies with policies AD55 and AD03. The first step is to complete the Noncredit Course Interest Form. If further coordination with the Office of the Associate Vice Provost for Online Education is necessary, you will be notified upon review of your submitted form and provided further guidance.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

MOOCs are a valuable addition to online learning at Penn State. MOOCs are online courses that are made available to anyone on the internet, typically without charge. Course lengths vary but usually last only 4 or 5 weeks. A single MOOC can include upwards of several thousand students. Because of these large course sizes, direct engagement with the MOOC instructor can be limited, and assessments tend to be automated or utilize a peer-review process. Unless special arrangements are coordinated with a given institution, participants do not typically earn academic credits upon completion. View Penn State MOOCs offered via Coursera.

Contact Traci Piazza at tdp10@psu.edu with questions about MOOCs.

Professional Organization Memberships

We are committed to the continued professional development of Penn State faculty and staff, particularly in the areas of adult learners and online instruction. The Office of the Vice Provost for Online Education maintains Penn State’s membership in several professional organizations, enabling faculty, staff, and students to attend, present at, and participate in nationally recognized professional development opportunities.

Council of College and Military Educators (CCME)

CCME‘s mission is to promote and provide educational programs and services and to facilitate communication between the membership and the DoD educational support network. CCME membership is composed of military educators, civilian educators, post-secondary educational institutions, and suppliers of quality education products and services.

Online Learning Consortium (OLC)

OLC is a collaborative community of higher education leaders and innovators, dedicated to advancing quality digital teaching and learning experiences designed to reach and engage the modern learner.

University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA)

UPCEA is the leading association for professional, continuing, and online education. The UPCEA Annual Conference is the most significant assembly of thought leaders and practitioners today in the field of professional, continuing, and online education.

WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET)

WCET is the leader in the practice, policy, and advocacy of digital learning in higher education. WCET is a member-driven nonprofit that brings together colleges, universities, higher education organizations, and companies to collectively improve the quality and reach of technology-enhanced learning programs. The WCET Annual Meeting brings together diverse perspectives and pragmatic solutions to digital learning in higher education.

Penn State Professional Development Opportunities

Hendrick Best Practices for Adult Learners Conference

The Hendrick Conference is a signature event of Penn State’s Commission for Adult Learners. Composed of faculty, staff, and students from several University locations, Commission members are dedicated to improving the adult learner experience at Penn State. The annual conference showcases best practices from adult learner practitioners across the Penn State community and beyond.

Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium

The Penn State Symposium for Teaching and Learning with Technology annually brings together ideas and people with the power to transform education. Penn State staff and students may support faculty presentations that target faculty, instructional designers, education technologists, and multimedia developers. Organized by Teaching and Learning with Technology, a group that focuses on working with faculty to enhance their teaching, learning, and research, the Symposium includes presentations, discussions, workshops, networking, awards, and more.

Learning Design Summer Camp

Learning Design Summer Camp (LDSC) is an annual professional development opportunity for the robust learning design community at Penn State to come together to collaborate around issues related to the learning design process, including instructional designers, faculty, students, librarians, education technologists, and multimedia developers.

LDSC is a community partnership across the University including Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT), John A. Dutton e-Education Institute, Business eLearning Design and Innovation Group, Center for Teaching Excellence at Penn State Harrisburg, World Campus Learning Design, College of Agricultural Sciences, College of Arts and Architecture, College of IST Office of Learning Design, and University Libraries.