Working for Missourians

MU Direct added new online programs, including master’s degrees in adult and family mental health nursing, autism education, and business and marketing education, as well as certificate options in nursing, gerontology, youth development and public health.

MU Direct: Continuing and Distance Education

Source: MU Extension Annual Report, FY 2009

Today, more than ever before, society faces challenges that require talented, educated individuals to help create stronger economies worldwide. MU Direct: Continuing and Distance Education is dedicated to making such educational opportunities accessible, flexible, relevant and convenient for adults of all ages seeking new paths to meet their potentials — wherever they live and work.

MU Direct Crew members from MU Extension’s Cooperative Media Group record footage for a TV commercial to advertise Mizzou’s online degree programs and courses. Along with targeted Internet, direct mail and broadcast media marketing, the commercial is used to recruit students in Missouri markets and adjacent states.

The average student in MU’s online degree and certificate programs is 36 years old. Some students live in remote areas with no access to classroom-based higher education offerings, and most work weekdays, making traditional educational programs out of the question for them. Nontraditional students typically have children, spouses and/or parents requiring their time and help. Many students enrolling in MU Direct partner programs already are well-educated, holding down full-time jobs that call for a growing knowledge base or changing skill sets. Furthering their education allows teachers, nurses and other professionals to stay competitive, earn promotions and, in uncertain economic times, potentially maintain their current employment.

MU Direct offers solutions that fit a spectrum of educational needs, currently with 43 undergraduate and graduate degree options and 15 certificate programs available online, and one degree program offered in the evening. Through these programs, 2,664 Missouri adults in 109 counties, as well as students nationally and internationally, pursued bachelor’s and master’s degrees and graduate certificates in FY 2009 from the University’s colleges of Arts and Science; Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; Education; Human Environmental Sciences; and schools of Nursing, Health Professions, Medicine (health management and informatics) and Journalism.

MU Direct partnered with these academic units to garner 8,704 enrollments in 666 courses for a total of 24,681 semester credit hours — an increase of more than 18 percent in enrollments over the prior year.

Student support services play an important role in student retention and success. Because nontraditional students often have not been in the educational system for an extended period, they may be nervous about returning to school or taking classes online. MU Direct helps them register for online courses, access unfamiliar technologies and navigate University administrative processes.

In FY 2009, more than 474 students earned their bachelor’s or master’s degrees.

MU Direct Web site