West Lafayette, Ind. — They’ve long been established in their careers. Some are wealthy. Others not so much. Some are looking to make a career leap – or change. Others retired. For them, the learning never stops. Nor do they want it to. That’s one reason online learning is taking off across the country for adults of all ages, of all trades, professions and demographics.

As more universities create online learning programs, Purdue University’s College of Engineering is offering a pilot program for alumni. In September, the college introduced its One Course Higher program. It is free and available for life to the engineering alumni across Purdue campuses. The online courses are non-credit. Course material is available by videotaped class sessions on the main campus that students are taking for credit.

The program is thanks to a partnership with the Purdue’s University Development Office and Purdue Online Learning.

“Our 90,000-plus alumni can access these courses anytime, anywhere – for free, for life,” said Mung Chiang, the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering. “Learning does not stop when you graduate, and the educational engagement between our alumni and Purdue continues for a lifetime.”

Online learning fits into Purdue Moves, a set of university initiatives to provide transformative education, world-changing research, STEM leadership and affordability and accessibility. It’s also in line with Purdue’s mission as a land-grant university to provide opportunity for traditional and nontraditional students.

An evolving digital library of online educational content is available in One Course Higher. This collection includes courses that were only in tuition-based online degree programs but now becomes available for alumni free of charge. Currently, there are eight selections.

The eight courses, available now, are:

  • Multidisciplinary design optimization.
  • Laser scanning.
  • Economic decisions in engineering.
  • Lean manufacturing.
  • Preclinical and clinical study design.
  • Random variables and signals.
  • Reliability-based design.
  • Nuclear engineering principals.

“The courses are in line with the online learning element of Purdue’s strategic plan that was adopted by the Board of Trustees in June,” said Gerry McCartney, executive vice president for Purdue Online. “Our intent is for Purdue to be a recognized leader in online higher education, whether for traditional bachelor’s degrees, tailored master’s, and employee training and retraining designed with and for corporate partners. This includes lifelong learning programs, recognizing that our alumni in fields such as engineering will want and need to upgrade their knowledge and skills regularly going forward.”

Purdue Engineering has been offering distance learning options for 60 years and has evolved to become an integral partner of Purdue Online Learning. The online master’s in engineering program is consistently ranked among the Top 5 by U.S. News & World Report. New tracks have been recently launched, including online badges co-developed with industry such as the Intel-Purdue badge in Design for Security.

More information about One Course Higher is available at https://engineering.purdue.edu/Engr/one-course-higher.