With online education becoming more popular every year, Purdue has developed a system which includes an online section using “websites on steroids” to teach students.

Last Friday, President France Córdova announced an initiative for college students around the world to access Purdue’s online courses. The system is called PurdueHUB-U and it includes a “blended format” class for residential students.

Through this website hub, residential students will be able to learn class content online by watching the lectures, submitting homework and taking tests. The actual class time will be used for activities, more engagement and participation. Provost Timothy Sands said the hope for the project is to give students the chance to have a more beneficial classroom experience.

“Learning research and our own experiments with course transformation at Purdue are suggesting that a blended format may be superior in terms of meeting learning objectives to both the traditional lecture format and fully online delivery,” Sands wrote in an email. “In that sense, PurdueHUB-U and our other forays into the use of technology are becoming part of our core effort to enhance the value of a Purdue degree.”

PurdueHub-U is based off of another system established at Purdue known as nanoHUB-U. Diana Hancock, director of nanoHUB-U, described hubs as “websites on steroids.”

“Hubs are websites with huge amounts of computational power boxes,” she said. “(These power boxes have) wonderful stimulation programs which allow the students to collaborate on research projects no matter where they are in the world.”

The inspiration for PurdueHUB-U came from the popularity and success of a nano technology course, Basic Electronics of Nanotechnology, taught by Supriyo Datta, through nanoHUB-U. According to a press release, 900 students from 27 countries took the online course to receive a certificate of completion. Sands said the new technology will help students with more interaction in the classroom.

“Overall, it will be good in the long run. The modularity of PurdueHUB-U could transform the traditional educational model,” he wrote in an email. “I think this is down the road, but you can imagine a system that tells the student which modules were taken prior to the module in question and how those students rated those preceding modules as preparation for the current module ... You can imagine an organic approach to attaining learning objectives.”