In 1998 the University of Texas system created the UT TeleCampus, a system to develop and administer online education. UT schools now offer about 2,400 online courses. TeleCampus is the central administrator of the program. Or at least it was. Inside Higher Ed reports that:
The University of Texas System announced Thursday that it would shutter its pioneering UT TeleCampus, laying off 23 employees and reconfiguring the online education entity into a smaller operation within the system’s central office.
Apparently the UT system now expects individual schools to have the capacity to offer online courses on their own, with minimal support from a central office. The new “smaller operation within the system’s central office” has yet to be created.
Currently the TeleCampus administers only 250 online courses. Many were apparently surprised by the announcement, thinking that TeleCampus would be around until at least 2012, when the UT system was scheduled to stop funding the institution.
The headline for the UT press release announcing the decision to kill TelCampus put an oddly positive spin on the decision, announcing that “UT Institutions Use Distance Education to Teach More Students, Improve Graduation Rates.” It’s almost like University of Texas is embarrassed.