Did you know 19 percent of MSUM students are taking all of their classes online this semester? Who are these students, what are their unique contributions to MSUM and their communities, and how are MSUM faculty and staff engaging with them? For the fall semester of 2017, 9 percent of those students are in campus-based programs and have chosen to take classes online this semester for various reasons — work schedules, health issues, family obligations, or other things that prevent them from being on campus. Online course options allow them to make progress towards their degrees, by removing barriers. Ten percent of those students are distance learners who are in fully online programs and rarely, if ever, set foot on our physical campus. These students are vibrant contributors to MSUM and their own communities, but may be invisible to those who are not working with them directly. 

The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) began National Distance Learning Week to help sectors such as higher education, corporate, and military “educate their constituents on the amazing growth in distance learning and showcase their accomplishments (USDLA.org).” MSU Moorhead will join that effort this year by showcasing our online programs, students, and faculty who serve them. Watch for inspirational stories of lives transformed through online education during Distance Learning Week, November 6-10. If you have a story to tell about how your life has been transformed through online teaching or learning, send them to Julie A. Zaloudek, Dean of Online and Extended Learning at julie.zaloudek@mnstate.edu. We would love to hear from you!