Over the years, Maine has implemented several policies to ensure that digital learning is available to students of all ages. In fact, in early 2012, Gov. Paul LePage signed an executive order granting the expansion of online learning options in all classrooms by 2013. While the latest executive order wasn’t directed to higher education institutions specifically, systems have still launched efforts to create and improve online schools in Maine and higher education as a whole as well.
Higher Learning Initiatives
LOOC: Little Open Online Course Initiative
Starting in 2012, the University of Maine at Presque Isle started experimenting with open courseware on a smaller scale. Loosely called LOOC, U of Maine at PI lets a set number of non-paying students tune in to select online classes. Tuition-paying and non-tuition-paying students are treated the same and must do the same work; however, the latter do not earn credit. The institution implemented the initiative in hopes of attracting more students to officially enroll in its traditional and online classes.
The Maine OnLine Learning Initiative
Both the U.S. Department of Labor and the Maine Department of Labor joined forces with the Sloan Foundation, Rutgers University, and Pennsylvania State University in 2009 to launch The Maine OnLine Learning Initiative, a program designed to award tuition support to incumbent workers pursuing online licenses, certificates, and degrees to improve their careers. Only those pursuing advancement in “high priority industries,” such as health care, information technology, and financial services from St. Joseph’s College are eligible for the aid.
Maine Compact for Higher Education
In 2003, the Maine Community Foundation partnered with the Maine Development Foundation to launch the Maine Compact for Higher Education, an initiative aimed at increasing the number of degree holders in the state by 2020. Another goal the initiative plans to achieve is getting support from employers so that workers can enroll in more online schools in Maine and can take course work on job sites. This means more accessibility to career advancement.