Test Driving Online Learning: Giving Prospective Students a Sneak Peek of the Online Experience

Concurrent Session 8

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Are your online courses right for me? With no shortage of online options, prospective students are shopping around to find just the right online program. Come discover the space Indiana University Online provides for prospective students to test drive actual online classes built by Indiana University faculty. 


Mitchell Farmer is Assistant Director, Campus Partner Programs for the Office of Online Education at Indiana University. Mitchell supports the development of seamless online student services through a collaborative partnership model with offices across the IU system.

Additional Authors

Julia Sanders is the Associate Director of Collaborative Academic Programs at Indiana University. With 20+ years in secondary and higher education, Julia facilitates collaboration and meaningful communication with faculty and campus administration regarding curriculum, policy, implementation, and delivery of online programs. She directs the development of the curriculum for online degrees to ensure course quality and application of best practices.

Extended Abstract

We have all used text, graphics, and videos to try describe the online learning experience, but prospective students come back with even more questions: Do I have to be in class at a certain time? Will I fit in with my classmates? How will I connect with professors? How do I do homework, quizzes, and tests? What does an online course even look like?

Indiana University’s Office of Online Education wanted to try something different. We wanted to hand over the keys and let prospective students guide their own “test drive” of real IU Online courses that were built by real IU faculty. From answering critical questions about online learning to browsing through sample online classes, this test drive gives students a realistic and hands-on experience of what to expect.

In this session, we will walk you through our design process from concept all the way to production. From identifying the needs and designing the structure to delivering it to the showroom, we will take participants “under the hood” and show exactly how it runs.

We will discuss how this new product integrates with our recruitment, onboarding, and success coaching initiatives. We will share strategies for marketing the product to perspective and admitted students, the analytics we gather from the product, and how we hope to expand the course catalogue to be representative of over 100 online programs.   

Come on in for your own “IU Online Course Test Drive”!