BOSTON—New England College of Optometry (NECO), the longest continually operating college of optometry in the country, has announced that it is expanding its program offerings to include an innovative hybrid teaching and clinical training model called the Agile Campus. This first of its kind program will make NECO’s highly regarded optometric programs more accessible to a diversity of students. “We are at a moment of disruptive innovation in both higher education and health care," said NECO’s president and CEO Howard Purcell, OD, FAAO.

"The Agile Campus model builds on New England College of Optometry’s history of innovation and excellence in optometric education through its mission titled 'Changing the way people see the world.' By combining cutting-edge distance learning with extensive and rigorous hands-on clinical training, we can extend our impact and make the NECO learning experience accessible to new and diverse students across the country,” Dr. Purcell said.
Courses will be developed by the College’s faculty, in collaboration with instructional design experts. Students enrolled in this program will blend online learning with rigorous, in-person clinical training that draws upon the expertise of the optometric community. This approach is expected to expand and diversify the base of individuals pursuing a professional career in optometry, NECO's announcement pointed out.
NECO said it is in the final stages of formalizing a partnership with a national leader in creating online and hybrid education models to help develop the platform. 
“We recognize today’s students appreciate the flexibility offered by a hybrid learning model. To create a forward-looking OD degree, we will build digital offerings from the ground up to maximize new technology platforms and the curriculum development expertise of our faculty,” said Erik Weissberg, OD, FAAO, VP and dean of academic affairs. “This four-year program will share the same academic and clinical training standards as our traditional OD program.”