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Purdue expanding online presence to global audience

Purdue is joining a growing number of universities, such as Harvard, MIT and Stanford, by offering more courses online and to those who are not students.

The pilot program is called PurdueHUB-U, based on the HUBzero computing platform for scientific research and educational activities.

Provost Tim Sands says classes ranging from the sciences to the liberal arts could be offered.

"So, it's not limited. We're actually interested in doing the experiment. We're interested in seeing where it works, where it doesn't. We want the faculty to try it out.”

He says this is a logical progression for the university, which already has some online degree and certificate programs.

"We regard it, not only as a way of reaching out globally, but as an absolutely mission critical activity for us to be pursuing for our on-campus students.”

The first four-years of the program will get $2 million to cover computer infrastructure development, among other things. It’s expected to break even by the fifth year.