iGEON: a fully on-line double degree MSc programme

Short description

The iGEON programme is an 120 EC MSc programme that can be studied fully online. It covers topics in the field of geographic information systems, earth observation for environmental modeling and natural resource management. Although all courses are available online, students are advised to do 25% of their studies on campus. iGEON awards a double degree from Lund University and UT, provided 25% is studied on campus at ITC; otherwise, graduates are awarded a single degree from Lund University. The programme has 55 ECs of compulsory subjects, 35 ECs of electives, and a 30 EC thesis project. Through internet-based or distance learning, students can have a flexible study planning, combine work and study more easily, and have a cost advantage. Students can either do the full-time variant, or the 50% or 25% part-time alternative.   iGEON started in 2013 and has a 60 student enrollment in 2014. Approximately 60% of students study full-time, whereas  40% do the programme in part-time. Students are generally enthusiastic about the programme and their marks are comparable to those of on-campus students.

Objective

The goal of the iGEON project is to reach a large international student community, including groups that would not be able to embark on a full-time campus programme. Also important is the spin-off to current on-campus courses which are made more attractive by enrichment with distance learning materials. This offers possibilities for an integrated, blended learning approach to education.

Strong points

iGEON is a fully online MSc programme in a double degree collaboration with the University of Lund. Spending a semester on campus is possible and recommended. The programme allows both full-time (100%), 50% and 25% study speeds. This makes it suitable for students who desire to combine work and study.  The UT approach to teaching and learning, i.e. interaction and group work, is highly appreciated by students.

  • Knowing precisely what the regulatory en legal requirements are from the respective governments and the partner universities is crucial. Staying in touch with developments is also very important, as requirements are developing. Dutch HE law, for example, stipulates the 25% on campus criterion.
  • Distance education, as designed and delivered in this innovation, does not imply a reduction in teaching load. For example: assignments still need assessment and/or feedback.

Recommendations

More information is available at http://www.igeon.eu/