College of Liberal Arts

Liberal Arts Offers Online Distance Education Courses

Posted July 25, 2014

By Jessica Sinn


The University of Texas at Austin College of Liberal Arts is launching an innovative online distance education program that provides transferable lower division college credit in the social sciences, humanities and foreign languages.

Leveraging custom web technologies and high-definition video production designed by Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services, the college is offering online classes in introductory psychology, government, classics, globalization and philosophy. The courses are intended for non-admitted students through University Extension.

Current prices for these three-credit courses range from $200 to $350, with an additional $10 fee to access online resources from the University Libraries. Students must register through University Extension before Aug. 15 to avoid a $60 late fee. Late registration ends on Sept. 15, 2014.

“Research shows that the Psychology LIVE instructional model, which includes frequent online testing with immediate feedback, has been proven to help students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds do better in this class, and transfers to other classes,” says James Pennebaker, professor and chair of the Department of Psychology.

The lecture video and activities developed through the LIVE course delivery are used to create on-demand versions of the courses, where students work with a group of peers with deadlines, but can watch the video at their own pace. These courses are led by a qualified co-instructor who is actively engaged with students throughout the semester-based course.

The Psychology LIVE and American Government courses were piloted in the last academic year through University Extension. This fall, those courses will be repeated, and five other courses will be available for prospective students to take from their homes or anywhere with a strong broadband connection. Additional courses open for enrollment this fall will be: US Foreign Policy, Politics and Government in Contemporary Texas, Topics in Globalization, , and Introduction to Ancient Rome.

Featuring top professors in their fields, these courses are every bit as rigorous as a traditional classroom-based course, and include multifactor identity verification and academic honesty assurance. The college is planning to expand this program to even more core courses, to help undergraduate-level or non-traditional students who, for many reasons, cannot enroll for courses on campus have an authentic UT Austin experience.

Psychology LIVE, American Government, and US Foreign Policy are also being offered simultaneously on campus with current enrollments of more than 3,400 undergraduates per semester.

“The professors said many times that the course itself was like a social experiment,” says former Psychology LIVE student Tanner Lines, who was aware that his classwork was contributing to research driving the continuous improvement of course design. “I see how it works. It was really cool to be a part of, and to say that I helped contribute to that.”

Visit the Online Education website for more infomation.