Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Monday, September 27, 2021
NEWS  |  CAMPUS

UF Online set to welcome largest ever incoming class this Fall

Applications were up 30% compared to Fall 2019

Graphic by Alex Brown
Graphic by Alex Brown

Initially disappointed to be joining PaCE her freshman year, Marium Abdulhussein was glad to learn her online classes would give her an advantage among her in-person peers in 2020.

“I think I got a little lucky because everyone was taking online classes when I was,” Abdulhussein, an 18-year-old public relations sophomore, said. “So the way my classes were structured were actually a lot more put together than my friends who were in-person.”

UF’s online bachelor’s program is ranked No. 3 in the country by U.S. News & World Report and has held a top-five ranking for the past three years. When the pandemic forced Fall 2020 classes to move online, associate provost for teaching and technology William McCollough said UF Online hardly missed a beat.

“There was some universities who did not have the kind of online experience we had that really had some difficulty as they tried to move from face-to-face to online,” McCollough said. “We weren’t ready for the pandemic but we made that major transition in a week essentially to bring everything online.”


In Fall 2021, UF Online will welcome its largest incoming class with applications leaping by 30% compared to Fall 2019, Evangeline Cummings, assistant provost and director of UF Online, said. She said about 1,000 PaCE students also accepted the offer of admission by UF, which represents a cohort nearly 40% larger than Fall 2018

UF’s online bachelor’s program is ranked No. 3 in the country by U.S. News & World Report and has held a top-five ranking for the past three years. When the pandemic forced Fall 2020 classes to move online, associate provost for teaching and technology William McCollough said UF Online hardly skipped a beat.

“There was some universities who did not have the kind of online experience we had that really had some difficulty as they tried to move from face-to-face to online,” McCollough said. “We weren’t ready for the pandemic but we made that major transition in a week essentially to bring everything online.”

Cummings said $5 million a year in appropriations and about $13 million in tuition is invested in UF’s academic core values through faculty positions and academic advisors for online students. 

The pandemic changed the way the college experience was once thought of for many incoming freshmen at the start of the 2020 school year, specifically how education was traditionally taught at UF. In-person classes moved to Zoom, students chose to stay at home and forgo paying for residential housing and going out turned into continuous online chatting. 

However, the pandemic also showed students and faculty alike of the beneficial qualities of e-learning.

“The pandemic really allowed us to get to know our students in a way that we feel really fortunate about,” said Emma Brady, assistant director of academic programs at UF Online.

UF Online has worked to build immersive virtual labs, which handle dissections and data collection from a student’s home. Going forward, Brady said the university plans to work on new programs, which hopefully include entomology. 

Brady has collaborated with the physics department to build kits to mail to online students. 

“It’s difficult to take just one course anywhere,” Brady said. “So being able to do your labs online when it works well has allowed a lot of students to finish their degrees.”

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

Although she’s appreciative of UF’s online program, Abdulhussein felt the main downside of being a fully online student was the lack of interaction between professors and students. She remembers talking to other students rarely or not at all throughout her classes. 

After hearing about the need for an online community, UF created the UF Online app September 2020 for students to foster connections with 4,000 online classmates.

Now on campus, Abdulhussein was surprised to see a lack of recorded lectures and online notes. She said her professors don’t entertain the idea of recording their classes and are strictly pro-in-person. 

“One of my teachers doesn't do that. He doesn't even put the PowerPoints up on Canvas because he says that you want students to come to class otherwise they'll just skip and say, ‘Oh, I’ll read the PowerPoint,’” Abdulhussein said.

Both in-person and online students shared more similar experiences than one would think, Brady said.

“A lot of people who had that idea that the pandemic wouldn't affect them, but it actually affected them just like everyone else, in that, they had more responsibilities as caregivers, they perhaps had to change their work positions,” Brady said. “And so we found that the pandemic allowed us to sometimes lend our expertise for helping people who had to put their courses online really quickly.” 

Contact Isabella Douglas at idouglas@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @Ad_Scribendum

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Isabella Douglas

Isabella Douglas is a second-year journalism major and the criminal justice reporter for The Alligator's Metro desk. She previously worked as a news assistant for The Alligator's University team and as a contributing writer for the New Tampa & Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News. When she isn't reporting, she can be found reorganizing her bookshelf and adding books to her ever-growing TBR.


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2021 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.