In 2011 Yale College introduced its first online courses for credit as part of Yale College Summer Session. Like every course in Yale College, each online course is approved by the faculty Course of Study Committee. Two online courses for credit were offered in 2011, eight in 2012, fourteen in 2013, and 19 classes are offered in the upcoming summer of 2014.
Credit was awarded for successful completion of online Summer Session courses in the same way as for Summer Session courses held in New Haven. The tuition for taking the online course has been identical to the fee for taking the course in New Haven ($3,300 last summer). All online courses run for five weeks, just like the regular Summer Session courses.
A key element of Yale College’s online courses for credit has been that all students, wherever they are in the world, “come to class” at the same hour and see and engage with one another and the instructor in real time. The technology platform enables twenty simultaneous live streams—thus allowing a seminar of up to twenty students or multiple sections, each with up to twenty. Already last summer (2013), two faculty members introduced the next step of having multiple online sections, and both were pleased with the results.
Assessments of the Yale College online courses have been conducted from both the faculty members’ and the students’ perspectives. All faculty members surveyed reported that their online course was worthy of Yale credit. The 2013 survey results added to these insights. All of the faculty responding thought their online students had as much as much (or more) contact time with the course as a comparable course in residence, and all thought their students acquired at least an equivalent amount of course content. The students’ survey showed that 97.5% thought that the online environment allowed them to analyze and think as critically about course content as a traditional Yale course.