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College of Art and Architecture Launches First Online Planning Course

January 15, 2016

The University of Idaho College of Art and Architecture (CAA) Bioregional Planning and Community Design Program is offering its first fully online course, “Planning Methods.”

Starting this semester, CAA students and professional planners can take the online course to learn the basics of urban and rural planning and how to help communities prepare a strategy for effectively organizing and responding to the challenges of the present and the future.

“We are excited to be able to offer this course online for the first time,” said Jaap Vos, head of the program. “Professionals working in rural areas statewide will now be able to gain planning skills relevant to their needs without having to travel to campus or take off from work. Current students will benefit by having an online course option, which adds flexibility and provides them with an opportunity to interact with professionals that are also taking the course.”

The Bioregional Planning and Community Design Program will add a second online planning course, “Intro to Planning,” in fall 2016. Vos anticipates offering all the core UI CAA planning courses online by 2018, releasing a new online class each semester for the next four semesters.

“I hope that our courses will meet the needs of the professionals already working in the field,” Vos said. “We have been talking to planners throughout Idaho and we know that communities outside the main urban areas have very limited access to formal planning education. These on-line courses are covering the core planning skills and techniques that are directly applicable to the planning issues that these communities are facing.”

Local communities are already benefiting from the new online offering. Owyhee planning director Mary Huff is one of the students enrolled in the class this semester. She said she hasn’t previously been able to find any certified classes available in an online format and with an Idaho focus.

“I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to take this course,” said Huff, who has been planning director for the past 10 years. “It’s important to me to learn and be updated in the latest trends in the field, including what they are teaching students entering the field. Without the online offer, people like me couldn’t fit classes into their schedule and balance classes, careers and other commitments.”

Ed Jepson, co-author of the courses’ textbook “Fundamentals of Plan Making” and a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, will teach the planning methods course. Classes begun this week; however those interested in enrolling this semester can contact Vos before Jan. 21.

Holly Funk
Marketing and Comm. Manager, College of Art and Architecture

Jaap Vos
Bio Regional Planning and Community Design Program

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky Conference. Learn more at