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UF Online: Expansive Possibilities for Gators Worldwide

UF Online: Expansive Possibilities for Gators Worldwide

The University of Florida is known worldwide for its academic excellence, breadth of programs, and prestige, given its leadership role across dimensions of research, innovation, service, and educational impact. As a longstanding member of the American Association of Universities (AAU), Florida’s flagship university stands tall nationally and globally among the world’s top academic institutions. Starting in 2014, UF embarked on a new challenge, the reinvention of its heralded residential undergraduate experience into a more agile, dynamic format accessible worldwide for learners regardless of age or life stage.

As UF Online launched with this fully embedded model, five bachelor’s degrees were converted into intentional online learning environments and formats, all thanks to UF faculty. Now, with 25 UF bachelor’s degrees available via UF Online, UF faculty continue to work to ensure that every online course is a dynamic learning environment that is accessible at times most convenient for busy students while never compromising UF standards for quality and academic achievement. UF also realized that it needed to rethink the student experience overall, not just within individual courses, to ensure each learner via UF Online was welcomed and supported in their own unique academic journey. Therefore, in addition to adeptly reinventing individual coursework, labs, and studios into accessible online formats, UF embarked on reimagining the student experience.

The UF Online Student Experience Framework

UF began the process of reimagining the student experience by defining each essential component of the student journey. UF Online identified seven distinct dimensions of the student experience, from student academic performance, faculty leaders and mentors, coursework and personalized academic advising, the vital role of amplified learning programs and co-curricular activities, to the culmination of the student experience as one component of a broader learning community environment at UF. With each of these seven dimensions defined, each also received a new strategy for excellence specifically for the remote learner. Currently, each dimension receives funding and personnel and manages to clearly define outcomes for students. All dimensions are made possible thanks to a campus-wide commitment of teams across UF.

Even with close attention to these seven dimensions, UF Online wanted to go one step further and define the program philosophy, the Student Experience Framework, to guide its work campuswide to support individual learners via UF Online. The UF Online Student Experience Framework describes how UF Online works to achieve student success for each and every student in partnership with that student. Its key elements outline the program’s focus on a journey mindset, adaptability, seeing the experience through a student lens, and always with equity and fairness in mind, regardless of a student’s work schedule or time zone. Together, these elements offer lifelong learners the best of what the university has to offer with a customizable experience.

UF Online’s Student Experience Framework

The Gator Nation is Stronger Together

By adopting this Student Experience Framework, UF Online enables each student to have access to all that UF has to offer. This framework ensures a welcoming approach for each student as soon as they join the Gator Nation, no matter their journey, age, or life stage. This unique approach sets UF Online apart by offering its students enriching learning opportunities that are not always available to online students at other universities across the nation. As UF Online continues to meet the growing needs of modern learners, there is no limit to what UF can achieve with this lifelong learning model.

Journey Mindset

UF adopts a journey mindset to welcome every student into UF

Online. This element recognizes that every student has their own unique journey, and the program must meet the individual needs of each student. We understand that each semester is one student’s first semester and another student’s final semester. This mindset enables UF Online to support each unique journey that may or may not fall in line with the traditional timeline of a residential student.

Robert Carlson

UF Online graduate,

B.A. Geography

“Within my UF Online courses, there was a mix of ages, and I think that makes it more dynamic. Some people thought I was a little crazy for going back to college in my 40s just to wrap up a bachelor’s degree, but

it was important to me. I would tell anybody if there’s something that’s out there that matters to them, reach for it. It doesn’t matter if you’re 20, 40, or 80, you can always get there.”



With a commitment to innovation and agility in all facets of the student journey, UF Online is adaptable by design. Most notably, each UF Online student is assigned a personal academic advisor who is with them each step of the way to customize their course enrollment plan to conform to their lifestyle, schedule, and career goals.

Dylan King

UF Online academic advisor

I really enjoy being an advisor at UF, and I feel fortunate to work with our UF Online population. I like getting to know them and that bond we create and hearing about their lives.

Everyone’s so different, and I love that.”


Student Lens

UF Online views the student experience through each student’s unique perspective. The student lens element provides UF Online students with events, resources, and support that are mindful of the reality and needs of a fully online student. UF continually works to ensure campus programs are accessible to a fully online learner population. Whether programs are live- streamed, announcements are posted in the UF Online virtual community hub (the UF Plaza), or dedicated emails are sent specifically to UF Online students about campus opportunities. UF employs a variety of methods to view its programs through the lens of a remote, online student to encourage their full engagement.

Kassandra Coulsey

UF Online student,

B.S. Environmental Management

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“I’m someone who’s always bouncing between different activities. There is always something to do, whether it’s studying, collecting insects, painting, gardening, or some other thing. UF Online’s flexibility has been amazing and crucial to my success. I was able to complete the lab courses online, and the professors made course completion a very attainable goal.

You would think you’d have to be in a lab, but I was able to submit a lot of pictures, documentation, and samples by sending things up to the main campus instead of driving several hours.”


This final element establishes the equity of experience for all UF Online students. The Student Experience Framework ensures online students have access to the resources and support they need to succeed. For example, UF Online funds opportunities exclusively for online student participation in

the UF University Research Scholars Program (URSP). UF encourages undergraduate research projects that are paired with faculty mentorships for all undergraduates, and UF Online students are no exception. To ensure equity of experience across all facets of academic programs, UF teams work collaboratively with UF Online student experience leaders to develop resources, initiatives, and communications that maintain a student-first approach.

Stephanie Gamboa

UF Online graduate,

B.S. Advertising: Persuasive Messaging

“I wanted to go to a school where I could really figure out what I wanted to do, so that’s why I chose advertising at UF. It’s also the same online as it is in person. The courses and

professors are the same. There are so many benefits to UF Online because, even not living in Florida, I still had the same resources available to me.”




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