More than 50 online educators from across the United States are in Pullman this week for a leadership development program.

Washington State University was selected by the Online Learning Consortium to host the 10th annual Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning, which features a blended-learning format. The program, which runs through Thursday, is taking full advantage of the new state-of-the-art, digital classroom building The Spark for both formal and informal learning spaces.

David Cillay, vice president for WSU Academic Outreach and Innovation, has served as co-director of the program for three years and was instrumental in helping bring the annual Institute to Pullman.

Growth in online learning has escalated in recent years. Federal figures show, for example, that 6.3 million U.S. college students, mostly undergraduates, took at least one online course in Fall 2016, a 5.6 percent increase over the previous year.

Institute participants in Pullman this week are from a range of higher education institutions, including universities and community colleges, and serve in a variety of leadership positions.