20 Years in Online Education

iSchool's Unique Approach to Online Education:

  1. iSchool online students earn the same degree as campus students.  The only difference is the mode of learning.
  2. iSchool online classes are taught by the same faculty as campus classes. 
  3. iSchool faculty are formally trained in online pedagogy.
  4. iSchool courses are taught by iSchool faculty.  We utilize technology in all of our teachings, but technology does not “teach” the courses or provide sole access to course material. iSchool online students interact directly with iSchool faculty.
  5. The iSchool at Syracuse University is a member of the WISE program (Web-based Information Science Consortium), which enables our distance students to take advantage of course offerings at any of the other WISE schools.
  6. iSchool online students have the same access to iSchool Student Services and iSchool Career Services as our campus students. In addition, being a part of the iSchool's online program means online students are a part of the extensive iSchool network of alumni and friends which is invaluable to students and alumni throughout their professional development.

iSchool's History in Online and Distance Education:

The iSchool's distance education program began in 1993, with our Library and Information Science program. In the beginning, instruction was done through the postal service and email.  As technology developed, so did our distance education program.

By 2000, all of the iSchool’s graduate degrees and certificates were available through distance education.  Students took classes online, asynchronously, with a 2–7 day residency each semester.  Residencies were tied to specific courses, and faculty chose how much residency they needed, depending on the content of their course. 

In 2001, extensive focus groups were held and research was conducted to help determine how the program should be improved going forward. As a result of this collaborative effort and our increased resources in instructional design and online pedagogy, the iSchool chose to institute an online faculty training program, where faculty would be encouraged to learn how to effectively teach online.

By 2005 the program was structured with students starting with a one-week summer residency, where they completed an introductory course, met fellow students, faculty, and staff, and then completed the remainder of the degree online. This enabled students to have access to a flexible online program, but still make and maintain and strong connection with iSchool faculty, students, staff, and the University.  Students could choose to supplement their face-to-face experience through optional Summer Institute classes. 

The iSchool distance education program successfully went through New York State Department of Education Institutional Review in 2004.

In 2016, the iSchool and education technology company 2U today announced a partnership to further strengthen the iSchool’s nationally ranked online graduate programs, including the Master of Science in Information Management, the Master of Science in Library and Information Science, and the Master of Science in Library and Information Science: School Media degrees. 

The iSchool joined the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the Martin J. Whitman School of Management as the third school at Syracuse University offering online programs in partnership with 2U.


 Learn more about the iSchool's online graduate programs or contact igrad@syr.edu with any questions.