Online Courses

Why Online Courses?

Online teaching has become increasingly widespread at American universities. Fundamental Genetics example moduleWe have given serious thought to the question of how the educational experiences we offer our students can be advanced by offering online sections of our courses. We see three arguments in favor of offering online sections:

  • Online courses, done properly, exploit web-based and multimedia tools that can be used to enrich the learning experience in classroom sections, thus leading to an overall improvement in the curriculum.
  • Online sections increase the array of learning formats available to students.
  • Summer online sections could reduce enrollments (class sizes) in the classroom sections of these same courses offered during the academic year.

Regardless of the course delivery method, our main concern is to provide a learning experience that is scientifically rigorous and gives students opportunities for intellectual engagement.

Our Online Courses

The Department of Integrative Biology offers online sections of our core undergraduate courses: Ecology, Fundamental Genetics, and Evolution. A new course, Zoo Animal Biology & Management, will only be taught online.

These online courses are only available during the summer semester and they require biological science prerequisites. Non-MSU students must apply to MSU through Lifelong Education to enroll in the course(s).

Online Degrees Unavailable

While more courses that satisfy University requirements and electives are being offered online each semester, the bulk of the College of Natural Science and Integrative Biology Department courses are not taught online. The material in upper-level science classes, and especially lab courses, sometimes is difficult to convey effectively via online teaching. The material in these science courses is also relatively complex. For many students, one-to-one interactions with the professors and other students may be a more effective way to learn this type of material well.