Northwestern's online learning director heads fast-growing program

Rebecca Hoey has been Northwestern College’s director of online learning for just five months, but already Northwestern is offering several programs entirely online and nearly every academic department is represented among the college’s summer online course offerings.

Northwestern’s online courses and programs are for students who need or want the convenience of distance learning as well as the academic rigor and faith-infused learning Northwestern is known for.

“I have a passion for online learning; it meets needs for so many students,” said Hoey, who’s completing a doctorate in curriculum and instruction at the University of South Dakota. She’s eager to play a key role in translating what Northwestern professors do well in the classroom to cyberspace.

“Online learning can be just as rigorous as what happens in the physical classroom,” she said. “It’s all about the relationships you build.” Hoey says Northwestern already has a reputation for being a very relational campus. She aims to help professors and students create the same community atmosphere online.

Under Hoey’s guidance, Northwestern’s education department is offering three education endorsements—coaching, early childhood and unified—entirely online, which makes them a convenient way for working teachers to enhance their credentials and improve their employability.

In addition, for the benefit of undergraduates who want to supplement their on-campus experience with online courses, the college offers at least one general education course in nearly every academic area. Northwestern’s online classes are also available to students in high school and at other colleges, including community colleges, and adult learners who are interested in personal or professional growth or who would like to work on their general education courses in order to prepare for a four-year degree.

For more information about online learning at Northwestern, visit