Our University

illini union

Founded in 1867, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is consistently ranked among the nation’s top comprehensive public research universities. Illinois remains true to the land-grant mission – to enhance the lives of citizens in Illinois, across the nation, and around the world through leadership in learning, discovery, engagement, and economic development.

Illinois is also a pioneer and leader in innovative distance and online education. Long before online learning entered the mainstream, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign was delivering educational opportunities to remote learners. The library school at Illinois offers the oldest extant off-site doctoral program in the country, begun in 1948, as well as an award-winning online learning program launched in 1996.

PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations), one of the world’s first computers for teaching and learning, was created at Illinois in 1960. Since then, many modern concepts in multi-user educational computing were invented at Illinois, such as discussion forums, message boards, online testing, e-mail, chat rooms, instant messaging, remote screen sharing, and multiplayer games.

Between 2016 and 2018, the number of enrollments in Illinois online courses shot up by 71 percent, to 72,385 enrollments. More than 3 million learners from over 100 different countries have participated in Massive, Open, Online Courses (MOOCs) offered at Illinois. By 2018, Illinois had developed 94 online degree and certificate options from 10 different academic colleges, and the numbers continue to grow.

What makes Illinois the right choice for online learning? World-renowned faculty and award-winning content developers work collaboratively to develop courses designed for student success. We understand that today’s learners want and need options, and we are leading the way in higher education delivery modalities. From college students taking an online course to improve their time to degree, to working professionals who want or need certifications, to career changers pursuing a fully online degree … Illinois offers an extensive range of online academic options to students around the globe.