Dalhousie University: New DalOpen initiative offers flexible learning options for people who aren’t in a program

A new initiative launching at Dal this month offers anyone an opportunity to take select courses at the university fully online without applying to a program.

Dal’s Faculty of Open Learning & Career Development led the development of DalOpen, which seeks to broaden access to the university so more people can become part of the Dal community on a schedule that fits their life.

It’s a new way of learning at the university designed to be more accessible, flexible, and convenient, says Dianne Tyers, dean of the Faculty of Open Learning & Career Development.

“Everyone should have an opportunity to learn at Dal if they want to take a course for fun or perhaps transfer a course to a degree,” she says. “The choice is in the hands of our learners, and we’re working to make sure DalOpen finds its way into communities where university learning may seem out of reach.”

The courses currently featured as part of this initiative include “Exploring Sustainability,” offered by the College of Sustainability, and “Innovation: An Introduction to Design Thinking,” an introductory course offered by the Faculty of Management.

Testing the waters
As more courses are added, people will be able to choose from a wide range of intriguing topics either for their own personal interests or as an easy way to try out university studies.

“We work with other Faculties at the university to take courses that are already offered online and add new openings for DalOpen students to enroll,” says Dr. Tyers (shown left). “This means that anyone can register for university-level courses as a DalOpen student and earn an academic credit without ever applying to a degree program.”

DalOpen students will have access to a variety of services, including library access, research resources and other university supports.

“DalOpen is designed to break down barriers and give anyone the flexibility and ease to learn in new ways,” says Kim Brooks, dean of the Faculty of Management. “We have a responsibility, as a civic university, to forge even stronger connections with the communities we serve and DalOpen is one way we can extend our reach and offer university learning to even more people.”