LSU CM Online Still Growing Nearly 10 Years Later

November 14, 2022 

Kimberley WilliamsBATON ROUGE, LA – In 2012, LSU Bert S. Turner Department of Construction Management Chair Charles Berryman was asked to create an online presence for the department, the first of its kind in the College of Engineering. Five years later, the program was ranked 11th in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Programs in the nation. In 2019, USNWR ranked the LSU Online Master of Science in Construction Management Program in its top 10 among public colleges. Nearly 10 years after its inception, LSU Construction Management Online has more than 600 students and continues to grow.

“Our program is the largest in the U.S. when it comes to online education,” Berryman said. “There’s no one close to us in construction management. We have 634 students enrolled online and almost 1,000 students in person. Our online student numbers will eventually exceed our on-campus student numbers.”

LSU CM Online gives those students who work full-time or live out of state the chance to earn a degree and still receive a quality education.

“The advantage of taking online courses is the flexibility and convenience of being able to work a full-time job, because many of our students are working professionals and military,” said LSU Construction Management Online Programs Coordinator Kimberley Williams. “As long as you have access to the internet, you can be a full-time student. Also, there’s the fact that our bachelor and master programs are accredited by the American Council of Construction Education.”

One concern the department had before offering its online courses was the quality of education.

“There’s this thinking that traditional in-person delivery is far superior to online learning,” Berryman said. “Truth be known, it’s the opposite. Online courses take a lot of instructor time and effort to be properly developed for engagement and learning. As a result, these types of courses are challenging for the students because they must be interactive learners and be a part of the learning process. In order to make this happen, we made sure all of our instructors are certified online instructors and all of our classes are professionally designed. It takes at least 12 weeks to develop each course, then it is followed by a touchup and a refresh three years later.”

The online CM courses are modeled around Quality Matters, a standard for online courses to follow, and Williams serves as a certified QM Peer Course Reviewer for the department. LSU CM Online also performs assessments on all of the courses when it comes to student learning outcomes. There is also always a teaching assistant or industry expert helping with each course. According to Berryman, some students at other universities hear about the efforts of LSU CM Online through their social network and transfer to LSU.

LSU CM Online offers a Bachelor of Science in CM, Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in CM, Master of Science in CM, LSU Online Leveling Courses, Micro-Cred for College Credit, Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Facilities Management, and Undergraduate Certificate in CM.

“We have what LSU Online calls a full-stack program, so our offerings start with micro-credentials, which are three-course certificates students can earn, which feed into the UCCM certificate, which feeds into our online bachelor’s degree,” Williams said. “Our post-baccalaureate degree in CM provides the core knowledge for career-change students wanting into our online master’s program, and there are four courses in the post-baccalaureate in facilities management that can be applied to our master’s degree. Dr. Berryman has strategically created certificates and degree programs that are interconnected in some sort of way.”

“The idea is once they get started in one of our programs, they can apply those same courses to another program upon completion,” Berryman said. “Then those courses can apply to yet another program, and then the next one, and so forth.”

The bachelor’s program is growing the fastest, Williams said. In the near future, the program may even include a construction engineering bachelor’s and master’s, as well as an architecture engineering degree.

“We’re not stopping,” Berryman said. “We have a good group of people working on this, including Becky Labatut, who is the glue keeping it all together. It’s a team effort.”  

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Contact: Libby Haydel
Communications Specialist