Innovation in Online Learning at Maryville University


Innovation in Online Learning at Maryville University

Published on November 19, 2014

Dan Viele, Dean of the School of Adult and Online Education at Maryville University, shares the best practices Maryville employs to support its online students on their path to success.


I’m Dan Viele. I’m the Dean of the School of Adult and Online Education at Maryville University in St. Louis.

Maryville University is an institution approaching 100 years old. It started off as an all girls private Catholic school and over the years evolved into a more full-fledged functioning university. We now have about 5,000 students. 2,000 on the undergraduate side of the university and about 3,000 in our adult and online education world.

The process of teaching and learning online really sort of shifts away from lecturing and then assessing student on how well they were able to respond to that content at certain intervals, to really building robust content that can be delivered in many different engaging ways and then helping the faculty to appreciate the opportunity to work with students more to facilitate that content as opposed to lecturing about the topic.

We are looking to try to understand the needs of our students, whether they’re traditional students or our adult students, and we are trying to understand the opportunities we can provide through the innovative use of either technology or the innovative design of how we deliver that course — whether it’s a hybrid course, whether it’s a fully online course — especially to that adult population who has a different set of needs. So to me, innovation kind of encompasses everything we think about doing as a university. Moving ourselves forward to better serve our students.

On the student services side, we want access to our advisors and our academic success center if tutoring help would be necessary.  We want to make sure that students connect with the university that are studying online, just like they’d be doing if they were walking our halls. Involving them with an onboarding process and an orientation in the beginning, making sure they’re part of a virtual community, a virtual student center that they can participate in as much as they would like during their experience, with newsletters and other kinds of information that we are going to feed them on a regular basis to keep them informed. All of those things to complement what’s going on in the classroom are really important for online students to feel like they’re part of Maryville University, whether they’re in St. Louis or somewhere else, is important.