Cornell's School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions (SCE) traces its roots to summer courses in geology, zoology, and entomology that were presented in the late 1870s. The University offered these courses in the summer to take advantage of the season's natural outdoor classrooms and to allow elementary and secondary school teachers, in particular, to further their education while their schools were not in session.
Since the 1870s, the early offerings have grown into an official Summer Session comprising hundreds of classes and special programs offered on and off campus as well as online for thousands of students from around the world.
Now more than 125 years old, the Cornell University Summer Session is believed to be the longest (continuous) running summer session in the world. See Summer Session.
Fall/Spring Part-time Study
Part-time study (formerly "extramural study") was formally established at Cornell in 1935 when the Cornell University Board of Trustees, in response to a report about the "desirability of having extramural courses offered for credit by Cornell University," approved the establishment of the Division of Extramural Courses. See Part-time Study.
The first Winter Session course, a three-credit study of Russian culture— two weeks in Moscow and Leningrad, followed by a week back on the Cornell campus—was offered in 1975. The course's popularity led to the creation of additional study abroad and on-campus options during the winter break and the establishment of a regular roster of Winter Session courses at Cornell. See Winter Session.
Cornell SCE was one of the university's first providers of distance learning and online courses. The school introduced courses on audio and videotapes in the early 1990s and offered its first credit-bearing online course during the 1997–1998 Winter Session. In 2001, SCE launched CyberTower, the pioneering online offering of Cornell's Adult University. Today, SCE offers dozens of for-credit online courses during summer and winter sessions. See online learning.