SIUE has brought back the ability for those not enrolled in the university to take courses through a program called Educard.
Chuck Weder, office manager for online services and education outreach, said Educard is a course auditing program that allows people to enroll in a university course without receiving credit. This is available to anyone 16 years or older and not currently enrolled as a for-credit student at the university for a $60 fee.
Weder, who recently took over as head of the program, said Educard originally shut down in 2021 due to COVID-19 and is now in a recovery period. Mary Ettling, director of online services and educational outreach, said although the program was originally targeted toward those wanting to sit in during in-person classes, they are looking to expand their options.
“Now that we're in kind of this recovery mode, it's interesting, because we're looking at different ways that we could serve the community outside of those traditional classes,” Ettling said. “Could we offer the opportunity for folks … to sit in on online sections? Are there other, different offerings we could allow folks to join in on the credit side? … Hopefully we'll have a larger array of classes that people can choose from.”
Educard students are provided access to Textbook Service for their textbooks, but Ettling said they are still responsible for paying any course-specific fees and are often restricted from courses with safety hazards. Weder said they also have to receive instructor approval to take the course and must be able to fulfill other potential requirements for the course, such as having internet access.
The program is primarily designed for those who want to pick up a particular skill or learn more about a subject, but not necessarily have a desire to earn a degree, according to Weder.
“You don’t necessarily need the credit to build up a diploma for your career on your resume [and] you still gain all those knowledge and skills that can help you going forward,” Weder said. “It's also popular with a lot of older folks who, you know, still want to stay active and still learning and part of the community.”
Although this program has been most popular with the older community in the past, Weder said this can be a useful tool for young people to explore their interests as well.
“[It] can be really valuable for [high school students] to especially learn [about] a certain field, something that would be good for a career for them to go into,” Weder said. “Would this be a good major for them once they soon start going to college? Is the college environment right for them? I think it's a really valuable tool for younger high school students as well.”
For more information about Educard, go to the SIUE Online Services and Educational Outreach's registration page.