Jason Rhode takes the helm as the university’s chief online learning officer

Jason Rhode

When it comes to leadership and strategy for NIU’s online and off-campus program development, Jason Rhode is on a mission.

As the newly appointed executive director of extended learning, Rhode will serve as NIU’s chief online learning officer and continue to build upon the university’s efforts to serve non-traditional learners.

“I am excited to work with our faculty, staff and administration in new ways to bring new programs to the market that will meet the needs of working adults in the northern Illinois region and beyond,” Rhode said.

New online and off-campus programs are in development along with enhancements to current programs.

“We are seeing an increasing number of students choosing to take online courses,” Rhode said. “Working adults who can’t come to campus to finish their degree or who choose a new career path want to take advantage of online offerings.”

Rhode said whatever the reasons for considering online classes and off-campus programs, students will have the same level of quality NIU delivers on campus.

“The online format can be just as rigorous and the learning outcomes are excellent,” Rhode said.

Online and off-campus learners have academic resources, technology support and community building opportunities that come with being a Huskie.

Behind-the-scenes, the university is moving the management and support functions for online and off-campus programs to the division of Academic Affairs, while also integrating support services from eLearning Services into the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center (FDIDC). The restructured and expanded FDIDC will offer one-stop, comprehensive support for teach effectiveness and innovation across all instructional delivery modalities.

“NIU is committed to further strengthening and expanding our online and off-campus program offerings,” Rhode said. “There are many opportunities for us to grow existing programs while also pursuing new online and off-campus programs that capitalize on the momentum and synergies that we already have in place.”

Rhode, who joined NIU in 2004, is a highly engaged and regarded voice in the field of online higher education. With nearly two decades of experience in online education and faculty development, he has held leadership roles in professional organizations including the Online Learning Consortium, University Professional and Continuing Education Association and the National Council for Online Education.

Rhode’s appointment took effect July 1.

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