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Meehan To Expand Online Learning 'Across The Board' At UMass

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The governor and the incoming president of the University of Massachusetts both believe online classes are a ticket to more flexible and affordable education.

"I think for certain subjects, especially complicated ones that I never really understood anyway – like physics and chemistry and stuff like that – the possibility of being able to take a lecture over and over again until you really get it in an online space is a great way to go," Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters Tuesday.

After a meeting with Baker, UMass Lowell Chancellor Martin Meehan, who will take over in July as the next president of the UMass system, said 53 percent of UMass Lowell graduates in a recent class took at least one online course and it's an area he hopes to expand.

"We're going to expand it right across the board at UMass," said the former Democratic congressman who now lives in Andover.

While cautioning that it is "not a substitute for everything," Baker said online education is a "money-maker" and cheaper and more flexible for students.

Baker also told Meehan he was a "big believer" in developing a three-year degree program.

"I would love to see that happen as part of your tenure," said Baker, who also praised Northeastern University's educational employment program, calling it the "biggest, brawniest, most muscular co-op program."

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