The University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida was opened in the fall of 1968 as the Florida Technical Institute, “in large part as a response to the growing space industry” in nearby Cape Canaveral. Today, it stands as the second largest university in the US (by enrollment), moving well beyond its roots as a NASA support school to become a vast, multi-disciplinary school that “anchors the Central Florida city-state…providing high-quality, broad based education and experience-based learning”.
The current student body at UCF hovers around 55,000 undergrads and graduate students, on a 1400 acre metropolitan campus housing 12 colleges. There are an additional 3 campuses in the Orlando area, another 8 extensions in the state (Ocala, Daytona…), and partnerships with community colleges that also offer classes towards UCF credit (some classes are conducted through two-way TV, others traditionally, others through web-based methods). Total degrees offered at UCF are in excess of 300, and that’s without any professional or graduate certificates counted. Still heavy in the space and science industry with fine engineering programs as well, UCF offers 97 bachelor’s, 95 master’s, and another 29 doctoral programs, with 3 specialist programs and a professional program thrown in to boot. Receiving constant high academics rankings and renowned both in state and abroad, UCF also recently established their College of Medicine in 2009 and are well on their way to not only increasing the access to solid medical education in Florida, but are also quickly developing it into a recognized medical research facility.
Offerings online at UCF are many, with hundreds of course offered every semester, in addition to undergraduate completion programs, 20 graduate degrees, and another 20+ graduate certificates that can be completed from the comfort of your own home or laptop (wherever you may be). For those undergrads with prior credits or an Associate degree already, upper division courses are available online to complete that work towards a 4 year Bachelor in Health Services Administration BS, Interdisciplinary Studies (either a BA or BS here), Technical Education/Industry Training, and a Registered Nurse to BS in Nursing program.
Graduate students who already have that Bachelor under their belt can continue to educate themselves towards better pay and promotion without interrupting daily life or work responsibilities. Tracts ranging from an English MA to a Nursing MS are offered, with several criminal justice (MS degrees in Criminal Justice, Digital Forensics, Forensic Sciences) and education (2 MEd Exceptional Education degrees, one of which is for non-education majors or those certified in another teaching area) options for graduates. There is also an online video course offering streaming, web-based instruction in 4 different Engineering Master’s programs (Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering, with options for both).
Graduate certificates in a wide variety of areas are offered to distance learners as well, with graduate level education for those looking for instruction in areas ranging from Autism Spectrum Disorders to e-Learning Professional Development. Streaming video courses in Engineering (a pared down version of the Master programs) and Mathematics are also available, bringing the classroom to any remote location seeking education. All online learning is created and distributed through UCF’s Center for Distributed Learning, who look to “assist and expand student access to education… [through] fully online and blended/hybrid courses”.
Offering virtual learning on par with their hundreds of other traditional courses, UCF is a fast-growing and successful seat of learning in Florida, bring knowledge to its students using state-of-the-art technology and well-educate/travelled faculty that help imbue experiential as well as academic learning for the betterment of the state, and the world.