Eagle Learning Online

 The University of Southern Mississippi has undertaken the Eagle Learning Online initiative to develop and implement a long-term plan to improve the quality of online courses and programs, enhance the level of services provided to online students, increase support to faculty teaching in online programs, create ongoing marketing and recruiting efforts for online programs, and develop a sustainable model for online learning that can help the University grow significantly and fulfill the University mission.
 The University is undertaking this initiative to provide a consistent user experience in online offerings; increase enrollment, improve retention, and increase graduation rates for students enrolled in online programs; and focus on demographics of students in the region, specifically a decline in traditional students and a rise in adult learners.
 Although USM has engaged in online learning for a number of years, many of the efforts in this area have been built on processes and models designed to support education delivery in traditional modes.  USM recognizes that successful online programs require different models and processes to support students at a distance. In addition, the University also understands there are opportunities for growth, consistent with the university mission, if successful models for online delivery and support can be more consistently implemented across the institution.

To date, seven programs have completed the initiative: bachelor's in elementary education for teacher assistants , master's in sport coaching education, bachelor's in construction engineering technology, master's in polymer science with an emphasis in composites engineering, bachelor's in special education for teacher assistants, bachelor's in nursing (RN-BSN), and master's in child and family studies.

eLearning Steering Committee

The Eagle Learning Online Initiative is managed through the eLearning Steering Committee.  Chaired by Provost Lyman, this committee is responsible for decisions regarding organization and delivery of online learning at Southern Miss, as well as fiscal oversight for support of the overall growth and development of fully online programs within the university.
Committee Members:

  • Amanda Cascio – Online Marketing and Recruiting Specialist, Learning Enhancement Center
  • Amy Thornton – Project Manager, Learning Enhancement Center
  • Cyndi Gaudet – Professor / Dir WLPI, GC Science and Technology
  • Debby Hill – Associate Registrar, Office of the University Registrar
  • Doris Kemp – Instructor, School of Construction
  • Douglas Bristol – Associate Professor, GC Division of Arts and Letters - Committe Chair
  • Fei Xue – Associate Professor, Mass Comm and Journalism
  • Gwen Pate – Int Senior Associate Dean / Associate Professor, School of Accountancy
  • Joanne Burnett – Associate Professor, Foreign Language and Literature
  • Jon Beedle – Associate Professor, Technology Education
  • Kathryn Lowery – Director, Institutional Effectiveness
  • Linda Bass – Proctoring and Training Specialist, Learning Enhancement Center
  • Lynn Smith – Director-Administration, Office of Budget and Tax Compliance
  • Michelle Arrington – Director, Institutional Research Office
  • Randy Buchanan – Associate Professor and Assistant Director, School of Computing
  • Sheri Rawls – Director, Learning Enhancement Center
  • Stacy Tucker – Director Oper and Infrastructure, iTech Administration
  • Steven Cloud – Chair and Professor, Speech and Hearing Science
  • Susan Siltanen – Dean and Professor, Graduate School-Dean’s Office
  • Suzanne Hebert – ADA Compliance Officer, Office of Disability Accommodations

Coding changes

Many of you may be familiar with online classes coded with a section number beginning with X or XG.  Beginning fall 2010, students are able to easily search for online classes in SOAR using either the online campus or online location.  All online classes will be coded with section numbers of H or G with a campus and location of online.


Eagle Learning Online recently purchased Intelliworks, a constituent relationship management tool designed for higher education.  This tool will allow us to recruit and track the life cycle of potential students for Southern Miss’ Eagle Learning Online programs.  Each online program will have access to the CRM and will work closely with the ELO Marketing and Recruiting Specialist to develop appropriate communication plans for their individual programs.

Mississippi Virtual Community College Partnership

Through a consortium agreement between The University of Southern Mississippi and the Mississippi Virtual Community College (MSVCC), Southern Miss students enrolled in a fully online program will have access to additional online general education courses offered by MSVCC, and not currently offered online through Southern Miss. MSVCC currently serves over 28,000 students a semester and offers a wide array of online courses. Fall 2010 was the first semester these courses were offered and the response has been very positive. To date, 112 Southern Miss students have taken advantage of MSVCC course offerings. The partnership will continue as the need is identified from the growth of fully online programs.

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