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The Next Wave of Optometric Education: Hybrid Distance Learning and Hands-on Clinical Training

New England College of Optometry partners with Noodle to build a distance education doctor of optometry program

The New England College of Optometry (NECO) announced plans to develop a distance education doctor of optometry program in partnership with Noodle, the country’s fastest-growing online learning network. The proposed Hybrid OD, which is subject to accreditation review and approval, will combine an interactive online learning environment with in-person hands-on clinical training, greatly expanding the availability of optometry education to students in areas without nearby programs.

Dr. Purcell

“Students are increasingly interested in flexible learning opportunities that blend the best of virtual education with in-person clinical experiences. Noodle’s expertise in digital technologies and services solutions will help our academic team create the most engaging, impactful program,” said Howard Purcell, OD, FAAO, President of NECO.  “Over the course of the next several months, we will work together to build a curriculum and education platform that benefits the next generation of students.”

The proposed program will require review and approval by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) and the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) in order to begin student recruitment.

NECO’s faculty will develop the course curriculum, working in collaboration with Noodle, which has developed an industry-leading design approach to ensure that its college and university partners build the premier curricula for their online programs. The result will be a unique, engaging, and flexible learning experience where students have the opportunity to acquire both the foundational knowledge and in-person experiential clinical training necessary for a successful Optometric career.

“We are honored NECO chose to build its cutting-edge hybrid doctor of optometry program with Noodle, which we believe speaks to the quality of programs we have built thus far, particularly in the healthcare space,” said Lee Bradshaw, Chief Strategy Officer, Noodle. “We are confident that with a partner like NECO we can achieve a balance of innovation and academic rigor for NECO’s future program offerings.”

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