Distance Education at Boston University

What is Boston University's commitment to online education?

Online education at Boston University is defined as content delivered primarily via asynchronous online methods. The University’s commitment to this delivery method was solidified in 2001 with the formation of the Office of Distance Education (ODE). ODE’s mission is to enable the University to broaden its online footprint and to reach new audiences outside of the Boston area. Currently, there are over 2,500 online students at Boston University representing all 50 U.S. states, and globally, six continents. Only 9% of these students live in Massachusetts.

What types of online programs exist at Boston University?

A full listing of the current online programs can be found on the Boston University Distance Education website. Currently, ODE supports the development of full graduate professional degree programs only. This development is supported by a team of instructional designers and student services personnel. Working together, these ODE employees partner with faculty to meet the unique needs of an online audience. Online degree programs at the University are designed to meet rigorous standards, both structurally and academically. Courses are designed to be heavily interactive, with an average weekly student study commitment of 15-20 hours.

How do online courses contribute to on campus programs?

Online programs strengthen their on campus counterparts in a number of ways. First, online instructors often choose to make their face-to-face classes more interactive and graphically rich by integrating online content into the classroom. Second, the marketing efforts required to support online programs often generate greater exposure for the overall program, too, attracting a higher caliber student to the on campus program.

How large are most online courses?

Online classes typically enroll 50–200 students. This scalable model is achieved through the use of course facilitators. These facilitators, who are post-graduate professionals or doctoral students with expertise in the course subject, work with faculty in the larger classes. Facilitators are assigned to groups of no more than 15 students and act as their primary contact for, answering questions, supporting discussion posts and grading assignments and exams. The Instructor of Record is the “presence” in the course, overseeing all students and ensuring that the educational objectives are met.

Frequently Asked Questions

We've collected the most common questions and answers regarding Distance Education at Boston University. Visit each section below for more information: