CU launches comprehensive online initiative

By Staff

CU is taking steps toward a systemwide online presence with the launch next week of University of Colorado Connect, a hub that matches mostly new students with offerings on the four campuses.

The initiative received the backing of campus chancellors, who in fall 2014 told the Board of Regents the effort would enhance CU’s online presence and compete with the many traditional and for-profit institutions in the online marketplace. They assembled a team with representation from campuses and system administration -- in the broad areas of academic offerings, finance, technology and marketing -- to move the initiative forward.

“We have made significant progress to get to this point, but this project will continue to grow and evolve,” said UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak, who is chairing the effort. The chancellors form the executive committee and the chair position rotates annually.

Each campus has substantial online degree programs and certificates, but the University of Colorado Connect is an effort to leverage the institution’s collective offerings and give current and prospective students a spectrum of choices.

Systemwide, CU offered 31 fully online degree programs (27 graduate, four undergraduate)in 2012-13. Two years later, it increased to 41 (31 graduate, 10 undergraduate). Additionally, CU offered 52 certificate programs fully online. Shockley-Zalabak said the number of fully online degrees could increase to more than 70 in the coming academic year.

The launch will be accompanied by a marketing campaign aimed at driving students to the web portal, which functions as a hub that connects them to campus offerings. Target audiences include new traditional and non-traditional students, community college students and transfers, and high school and home school students. Additionally, current CU students will be able to take courses at other campuses through concurrent enrollment.

Marketing will be focused on digital advertising, social media, radio and print collateral for communities, high schools and community colleges. It will begin appearing in markets on Monday.