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Open SUNY Unites Online Ed Offerings Across 64 Institutions

The State University of New York (SUNY) has formally introduced a new online program that allows students to access courses, degrees, professors and academic resources from any of SUNY's 64 campuses. Open SUNY, as it's called, is a mix-and-match service that offers access to 400 "online-enabled" degrees, 12,000 course sections and eight full degrees. The system's expectation is that people from inside and outside the state will attend courses, including international students.

Students can use the program to start a degree, finish a degree or just take a single course. The Open SUNY Navigator allows a potential student to specify what type of program he or she wants in categories such as entirely online or hybrid, synchronous or asynchronous, experiential, accelerated and so on — and the navigation tool provides potential online offerings to fit the criteria.

"Open SUNY will provide our students with the nation's leading online learning experience, drawing on the power of SUNY to expand access, improve completion, and prepare more students for success," said Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. "In addition to these new, fully-online degree programs, Open SUNY will take every online course we offer at every SUNY campus...and make them easy to find and accessible for every SUNY student and prospective learners around the globe."

Along with providing a central application through which to locate course offerings, SUNY is offering Open SUNY+, which adds additional layers of support for online students and instructors. Specific additions include a 24/7 help desk for technical support, a "concierge" service to act as a single source for getting all program questions answered, and extended hour tutoring services. Faculty will have access to training programs and online forums where they can broaden their knowledge about developing effective online courses or share best practices.

Eight Open SUNY+ degree programs debuting this month were chosen based on a number of factors, including student interest, accreditation, and their capacity to meet current and future workforce demand throughout New York State.

Among the institutions involved are:

"We are proud of our collaboration and success in serving a qualified student population that may not otherwise be able to pursue a degree in electrical engineering," said Stony Brook President Samuel Stanley Jr. "We are joining forces with our colleagues at Binghamton University and the University at Buffalo to make a difference. We look forward to implementation of Open SUNY. This is truly an exciting time to be involved in higher education in New York State."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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