Working for Missourians


CDIS offers a range of courses for independent learners to enroll in year-round — regardless of location and at all academic levels, from elementary to graduate level.

Center for Distance and Independent Study

Source: MU Extension Annual Report, FY 2009

The Center for Distance and Independent Study extends the University’s instructional resources and programs throughout Missouri, across the United States and in 51 other countries. CDIS serves the increasing number of students who require quality and affordable online options with maximum flexibility while pursuing their educational goals. In FY 2009, the center enrolled 20,801 students worldwide.

Center for Distance and Independent Study
MU High School attracts some of Missouri’s most gifted young scholars. Lisa Simone, of Fenton, Mo., needed a high school alternative program that would allow her to work around her dance interests, finish high school early, take advanced courses and work on an associate degree at the same time. MU High School fulfilled that need. She graduated from the school’s diploma program in June 2009. After earning her associate degree from St. Louis Community College, she received a Presidential Finalist Scholarship to study biomedical engineering at St. Louis University. Simone is a pianist, cellist and ballet dancer and has appeared in the Nutcracker with the St. Louis Ballet. (Photo by Gigi Weaver Photography)

In FY 2009, university-level enrollments grew by 6 percent, up to 3,277. Initiatives to enhance the online bachelor of general studies degree completion program — with increased student options for concentrations — attracted an additional 71 students. More than 20 students have graduated with a general studies major since 2006. New popular courses in psychology and business have attributed to a 30 percent increase in university enrollments during the past two years.

In collaboration with faculty, the CDIS curriculum team incorporated an array of innovative design features in 26 new courses, using customized interactive components designed to enhance learning. The team continues to research and apply high-quality instructional technologies appropriate for online course delivery.

A total of 14,623 enrollments were recorded at the secondary and elementary levels throughout FY 2009. The 78 graduates who were members of the class of 2009 brought the total to nearly 600 diplomas granted by MU High School since its inception in 1999. The high school received a University Continuing Education Association distance education meritorious course award for its online Personal Finance course, which allows students to fulfill Missouri’s new statewide graduation requirement in financial literacy.

High school students now can choose from among 15 Advanced Placement® courses, in addition to the array of other gifted-education courses. As an alternative to traditional independent study courses, 18 semester-based options are also available. Enrollments will be monitored to inform decision-making on future development of similar term-based courses.

For students who need assistance with writing, CDIS offers support services in collaboration with MU’s Online Writery. With 10 writing-intensive university courses in development, 49 designated courses with significant writing requirements soon will provide optional tutorial services.

MU Center for Distance and Independent Study Web site