History of ION

With the advent of the World Wide Web in 1992, colleges and universities recognized the potential of the internet to deliver learning opportunities globally. In Illinois, the University of Illinois system built upon their expertise in computer assisted instruction to lead in the early deployment of courses online. By 1997, the Illinois General Assembly recognized this leadership by funding the Illinois Online Network to be administered by the university. The mission was to provide faculty development in emerging best practices and pedagogies in this new medium to public and private colleges and universities. Beginning with online workshops, ION expanded to sequences of online courses by 1999.  In 2002, the Illinois Online Network was recognized nationally by the Sloan Consortium (funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation) with the award for Excellence in Asynchronous Learning Networks.

Online courses and certificates offered by the Illinois Online Network have come to set the standard for excellence in instruction for those who teach and administer online programs. Colleges and universities across the country and abroad subscribe to ION to receive timely and comprehensive instruction in the continuously-evolving practices, technologies, and pedagogies in teaching and learning online.

ION moved from the University of Illinois System Office to the University of Illinois Springfield in June 2017. Since moving to UIS, ION has expanded to its curriculum to include online learning leadership certificate, digital accessibility certificate, and courses on open educational resources.  The Illinois Online Network is supported by the nationally-recognized, award-winning Center for Online Learning, Research and Service at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Scope of ION Programs

Our courses and program structure provide higher education professionals with effective skills and practices. The courses undergo continuous review and are designed to provide an intellectually stimulating environment, promote innovation and develop relationships with other instructors and peers.

ION Courses Provide Institutional Support

ION courses are designed to fulfill the Interregional Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education Standard 6 requirements for the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) and the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC) which states:

“Faculty responsible for delivering the online learning curricula and evaluating the students’ success in achieving the online learning goals are appropriately qualified and effectively supported.”

The professional development courses provided by ION serve as a systematic training program based on tested effective practices in online pedagogy and demonstrated competencies in online learning.

ION Program Reach

Participants in ION courses come from around 90 countries across the world and 48 of the 50 U.S. States.

map of the US states students are from

Countries Listed

  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahamas
  • Bangladesh
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Belize
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Cuba
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Greece
  • Guam
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Korea
  • Korea
  • Korea
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Lebanon
  • Liechtenstein
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • Qatar
  • Russian Federation
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore
  • Slovenia
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Uzbekistan
  • Venezuela
  • Virgin Islands (U.S.)
  • West Indies
  • Yugoslavia
  • Zambia