The U.S. Department of Education has selected Fordham University, part of JesuitNET, the Jesuit Distance Education Network, to play a role in shaping the future of distance education. The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities’ JesuitNET project is comprised of Fordham University, Georgetown University, Loyola University Chicago and the University of Detroit Mercy. The group is one of 10 new projects under the department’s Distance Education Demonstration program announced by U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige on June 25. As part of the program, Fordham will test models designed to provide financial aid packages to distance education students, who are currently restricted by regulatory provisions.

In addition, Fordham is developing a distance education course titled Data Warehousing, which will be taught next spring by Fordham’s Graduate School of Business. The department will evaluate the course and develop protocols and criteria that will satisfy the unique dynamic of distance education. A 1999 U.S. Department of Education report found enrollments in distance education classes more than doubled in three years. The department is looking for ways to assess curriculum and course quality without resorting to measures more appropriate to on-campus courses, such as seat time and semester length.