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The Power of the Bundle: Designing a Fast Solution for an Online Fall Without Compromising Quality

Written by 2U on Jul 16, 2020

Related content: Higher Education

2U has always believed that bundling our technology, people, and data together is the most powerful way to support our partners. Since the beginning, we have invested in building 2UOS, our proprietary model that combines all the elements necessary to build, deliver, and support impactful online higher education to drive student success. OS stands for operating system—it’s the backbone connecting all we do.

For more than 12 years, 2UOS has provided seamless online learning experiences across verticals and offerings. Even when designing the most complex programs, like RIT's Master of Architecture or Yale’s Physician Assistant, 2UOS has evolved and persevered as a sustainable solution for our university partners. So when COVID-19 forced universities to make one of the largest pivots in the history of higher education, we asked ourselves the same question we faced when evaluating opportunities to partner with RIT and Yale: can a bundled solution meet the needs of our partners?

The answer was yes. 2UOS was intentionally designed with an infrastructure that could support innovation and scale. That scale can go deeper and wider or contract to increase efficiency and speed without sacrificing quality.

Universities and colleges told us they needed a way to bring high-quality online learning to existing undergraduate students this fall—fast. And that’s how 2UOS Essential was born.

2UOS Essential was developed to provide the essential technology and services universities need to quickly build, deliver, and support an effective online learning experience—without compromising quality. It is a lighter deployment of 2UOS, which is traditionally a deep process that can take anywhere from six months to over a year of development time for degree programs. While 2UOS is worthwhile for universities with the time and commitment to invest in a long-term digital strategy and online-first degree programs, the pandemic has forced universities to adopt a more agile approach to move online within a handful of months. That’s where 2UOS Essential comes into play.

Unwilling to sacrifice quality, we built 2UOS Essential to be as robust an experience as can be actualized in a short period of time. There’s no couching, no asterisks—it is a solution that prioritizes excellence and sustainability. With 2UOS Essential, universities are equipped with the building blocks to ensure effective pedagogy and engaging learning. There’s faculty training inclusive of instructional design workshops and teaching best practices, video production via Studio in a Box for faculty to create high-quality recorded video content with 2U’s support and expertise, and a scalable LMS built with security and the user experience top of mind. Then, when classes are in session, there’s student and faculty support for real-time technical assistance.

2UOS Essential is also a great introduction to online education for institutions like Amherst College with no preexisting digital strategy. These institutions have the opportunity to explore what a scalable partnership and digital strategy with 2U can look like while meeting their immediate need for support this fall. In Amherst’s case, the college is working with us to bring some of its highest enrollment courses online. And for institutions like Simmons University with years of experience and digital success, 2UOS Essential provides a quick solution to expand their reach with even more classes online. Based on our decade-long track record of great graduate student outcomes, Simmons recently announced an expanded partnership with 2U to reimagine its undergraduate experience, with hundreds of courses from its catalog available online this fall.

2UOS is the mortar between the digital bricks. It’s the connective tissue that enables us to react fast to meet the needs of our partners while building deep, high-quality learning experiences for students. And these experiences we create will hold up for a marathon—not just the COVID sprint. They are sustainable solutions built to evolve and grow with the ever-changing needs of students, universities, and society.

Learn more about us.

At 2U, we’re on a mission—to eliminate the back row in higher education and help universities thrive in the digital age. To learn more about who we are and what we do, follow the links below.