ST. MARY-OF-THE-WOODS, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A local college celebrates 50 years in Distance Education.

Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods College began offering remote learning in 1973 with the Women’s External Degree Program.

The program was geared toward women who had started their path to higher education, but had to stop, because they had gotten married, started families, or for other reasons.

In 2005, the name was changed to Woods External Degree to reflect the admission of male students, and in 2011, it was renamed Woods Online. That was done, to better signify the delivery of the program to students.

“We were the second school in the nation to offer learning at a distance which looked different than it does today obviously with the internet but the school was very innovative in its time to be able to offer students the opportunity to maybe either begin and finish or just definition a baccalaureate degree through distance education,” said Brennan J. Randolph, interim president of Saint Mary-Of-The-Woods College.

Currently, Woods Online enrollment for 2023-24, is projected to be just over 400.