Online education

Online Learning

Unparalleled education is one of the hallmarks of Penn State, no matter which campus, college, or learning environment a student chooses, and providing access to this education remains at the forefront of our efforts. The College of Earth and Mineral Sciences is a leader in distance teaching and learning, and one of our strategic initiatives is to strengthen our online education offerings through the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute to provide more opportunities for all students, regardless of location, to pursue a Penn State education.

e-Learning in EMS

The goal of this strategic initiative is to provide seamless access to the entire breadth of the college’s learning by integrating online and resident education courses into a package that provides maximum flexibility and opportunity for students located anywhere within the Penn State system — enabling them to progress toward their degrees in a timely manner regardless of where they begin their studies. By doing this, we hope to give our students at University Park, across the Penn State campuses, and Penn State World Campus the opportunities to learn how to live productively in a globalized world, to become lifelong learners, and to attain the practical proficiencies that come by engaging students in real-world experiences in their chosen majors.

Specific objectives

Prepare the college's faculty, staff, and learners for the changing landscape of higher education

Current dividing lines between online and face-to-face teaching and learning will disappear. New pedagogical and technological affordances make learning any time, any place a reality for all. We will develop innovative methods, technologies, and tools that enrich and enhance the teaching and learning environment. So-called “difficult” pedagogical strategies will be possible inside and outside the classroom. We will shift the focus from “developing content” to “creating learning experiences.” We will personalize the learning experience by providing learning environments that are flexible, "smart," and inherently interesting. We will make participation in engaged scholarship opportunities possible for all learners in the college.

Design and implement models for self-sustaining academic programs that emphasize quality in student outcomes and value to the college

Work in partnership with the college’s academic units to create new courses and programs that continue to reflect the college’s strategic initiatives. Courses and programs, at the undergraduate and graduate levels, will showcase the research and teaching strengths of the college. We will support faculty, staff, and learners through the lifecycle phases of educational research, design, delivery, support, and reinvention – creating resources that can be shared across the University for the benefit of all. Online learning will be integrated into the culture of the college.

Provide seamless access to a College of Earth and Mineral Sciences education driven by learner needs, regardless of location or situation

Gone will be barriers in the learner’s path, replaced by increased access to courses and programs for residential and online learners. Expanded online University learning and extracurricular resources will eliminate distinctions between the online and face-to-face world and will enable us to build stronger learning communities. We will reproduce and expand the engagement that takes place in University classrooms, hallways, and social spaces to connect all learners in the college. We will better connect residential and online learners with each other and with resources that support and enrich their educational experiences. Improved financial aid will become a resource for programs that are "non-standard" by design. Proactive usability strategies for learners with disabilities will improve the educational experience for all. Culturally relevant curricula will address the needs of local and global learners. “Classrooms” will become more diverse and more inclusive than ever.

About the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute

The John A. Dutton e-Education Institute is the learning design unit for the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. The institute works in close partnership with the college's five academic departments to design, develop, and manage the college's online certificate and degree programs, as well as to support the college's faculty in the delivery of resident instruction offerings. To date, our college boasts 19 certificate and degree programs online and more than 130 online courses. We have been able to extend the reach of a high-quality, rigorous, and research-based Penn State education to more than 5,900 undergraduates and more than 1,250 working adult professionals around the globe.

Learn more

To learn more, please visit the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute website.