LSU Online’s initial launch offers graduate students a choice of three master’s degree-level programs in business administration, construction management and human resource leadership and development.
Two more degree programs in higher education administration and educational leadership are expected to launch later this year, possibly in May.
A 2011 Sloan Foundation Survey found that more than 6 million people, or nearly one-third of all college students, are taking at least one online course on their way to a degree.
Public colleges, like LSU, are also beginning to face competition from startups like Coursera, an online education company that enrolled more than 2.7 million students in free online courses since its April launch.
LSU Online is being marketed by the Dallas-based Academic Partnerships company as an option strictly for degree-seeking students.
“We know there are a lot of people out there who want graduate degrees, but can only work it into their lives through the online environment,” said Ed Holton, LSU’s interim associate dean for distance learning and leadership.
LSU Online courses are created and taught by LSU faculty and designed so that students can work at their own pace and take courses at any hour.
So far, LSU has secured permission to offer courses to students in 24 different states, he said.