The Digital Campus

The University of Minnesota recently announced a new online initiative dubbed the University of Minnesota Digital Campus. The new program hopes to centralize and enable the University to offer more classes and even degree programs entirely online. This is a welcome innovation, but nevertheless, the University remains significantly behind the online curve. Other large colleges and universities have long had a notable presence online. Ivy-league schools such as Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology offer large amounts of their coursework online. MIT offers the most ambitious online program of any college: the MIT Open Course Ware program. With Open Course Ware, most MIT professors are required to upload all class materials and full video of all lectures âÄî enabling anyone with an Internet connection to take an MIT course anytime. The University should take note. Creating a centralized website with very little material at the end of 2008 illustrates clearly that the University is behind where it should be in this category. Although new, the University Digital Campus website will instill disappointment in any user. The lack of information, with the over-simplified user interface, offers little to a prospective student or to the general public who seek self-advancement. The University Digital Campus is a great start to what should be a main priority in the UniversityâÄôs future mission. University Digital Campus should be given the resources to expand its library of information. Online classes, as well as the free distribution of knowledge, should be offered in a centralized, leading-edge online environment. If the University accomplishes this, its reputation and its obligation to serve its students and the state will undoubtedly benefit.