Twelve Things to Know About Online Education at the U of A

November 2, 2023  |  by Heidi Wells, Global Campus

The Pedagogy Toolkit podcast is produced by instructional designers Camie Wood, from left, Alex Dowell, Amalie Holland and James Martin
The Pedagogy Toolkit podcast is produced by instructional designers Camie Wood, from left, Alex Dowell, Amalie Holland and James Martin.

Online education is our thing at the University of Arkansas Global Campus, and we’re celebrating National Distance Learning Week by sharing how we can help you if you are an instructor or student in an online course or degree program.

National Distance Learning Week, which is sponsored by the United States Distance Learning Association, ran from Nov. 6-10 with free virtual webinars available. This year’s annual celebration focused on how artificial intelligence is affecting distance education.

The U of A offers 92 online degree, certificate, microcertificate and licensure programs. They can be viewed at U of A ONLINE. The Global Campus, which is located on the downtown Fayetteville square, supports U of A colleges and schools in the development and delivery of online, distance and workforce education programs and courses. It provides instructional design services, technology services and assistance with marketing, recruiting and strategic academic development.

Services also include helping instructors create courses, helping prospective students navigate enrollment, helping online students find all the resources they need to be successful including how to build community with their classmates and instructors, providing additional resources to instructors, and increasing awareness of online education across the state and beyond.

Kati Williams, online student coaching coordinator, answers questions for students and directs them to other resources
Kati Williams, online student coaching coordinator, answers questions for students and directs them to other resources.

“Online education is extremely important to the land-grant mission of the University of Arkansas because of its natural ability to expand access to people in rural communities across the state,” said Cheryl Murphy, U of A vice provost of distance education and head of the Global Campus. “We talk to students and graduates who are determined to improve the quality of their lives and strengthen their communities by furthering their education. Many tell us that earning a degree would not have been possible without online education.”

Did you know about all of these services (listed in no particular order) that Global Campus offers or works in collaboration with other units on campus to provide?

  1. The Pedagogy Toolkit podcast: Latest episodes include “Eradicating the Gremlins: How Blackboard Support Saves the Day,” “From Trolls to Tact: The Art of Civil Discourse in Online Discussions” and “A Human Touch: Teacher Presence in Online Classes.”
  2. The Blackboard Help Desk, which is part of the Learning Technology Support team, includes a support coordinator and three support specialists available seven days a week to help students and instructors with questions about the university’s learning management system. Last academic year, the team received more than 4,000 tickets related to Blackboard Learn and resolved more than 3,500 of them without escalation to another team.
  3. Online coaches and student liaisons work one on one with students through email, chat or video calls to navigate the enrollment process through admission and then throughout their degree programs.
  4. Coaches put on a webinar series called The Insider to discuss the latest topics in online learning, tips and tools students need to be successful, and upcoming events at the university. Students can join live to ask the coaches questions.
  5. The Online Student Union offers a safe, inclusive gathering space to make connections, share ideas and find answers and support.
  6. The Teaching Innovation and Pedagogical Support (TIPS) website: Recent posts include “Ultra Banner Maker” and “Available Teaching Technologies.”
  7. The Professional and Workforce Development division offers fully online, self-paced courses for people who want short-term training to enter or upskill in the workforce. Professional and Workforce Development reported 2,205 total course registrations with ongoing grant funding totaling $15.8 million. In addition to online and in-person training courses presented at the Collaborative in Bentonville, the division offers a series of courses for free through its RazorLearn program.
  8. The annual Better Online Learning Together (BOLT) conference takes place virtually each October.
  9. Weekly Updates is an email sent each Monday from the Global Campus Instructional Design Team that features what’s happening this week, did you know, Ultra information, upcoming trainings, approaching deadlines, and other helpful items. Faculty members teaching online classes are automatically subscribed and can opt out.
  10. The Online Learner blog highlights students, faculty and programs.
  11. Global Campus offers the W.E. Manning Memorial Scholarship open to students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
  12. Online Student Orientation offers an immersive course experience for new online undergraduate students to learn the ins and outs of studying online at the U of A the two weeks before the semester a student starts taking classes.
Each year, the Global Campus awards the W. E. Manning Memorial Scholarship to students studying in online degree programs. Recipients come from all over the country and represent many degree programs.

This year’s Global Campus annual report provides all sorts of data about online education at the U of A. For example, there were 4,285 students studying exclusively in online degree programs in the 2022-2023 academic year. That’s 13% of all U of A enrollments and 153% growth over the past 10 years. The U of A offered 26 online minors and 906 online courses. Gross online revenue for the academic year was $37.8 million, a 130% growth over 10 years, with more than $15.7 million going to the university’s general fund.

You can watch videos, see pictures and read stories about graduates and students of online degree programs and workforce training courses on our social media channels: Facebook for ONLINE, Facebook for Professional and Workforce Development, Instagram for ONLINE, LinkedIn for ONLINE and LinkedIn for Professional and Workforce Development.

Photo of Heidi Wells

Heidi Wells

Content Strategist

Heidi Wells is the content strategist for the Global Campus at the University of Arkansas and editor of The Online Learner. Her writing spans more than 30 years as a communicator at the U of A and a reporter and editor at Arkansas newspapers. Wells earned two degrees from the U of A: a master's in 2013 and a bachelor's in 1988.

Wells can be reached at or 479-575-7239.

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University of Arkansas ONLINE programs are designed by academic departments on the Fayetteville campus to offer you another path to earning a degree from a top-tier public research university. Online programs give you the flexibility to balance family, work and school responsibilities. You do not have to put your life on hold while working toward a better one.

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