The Internet is where it’s at and Colorado State University is there with several new credit, non-credit and degree programs available through the Colorado State University Network for Learning.
For the first time, beginning this fall, three new distance-degree programs will be offered through CSUN: master’s degrees in agriculture, electrical engineering and a new bachelor’s degree in technology education and training, with emphasis in fire service management and training.
The master’s in agriculture is designed to serve professionals in cooperative extension, agribusiness and government agency personnel nationwide. The master’s in electrical engineering is a non-thesis degree for those seeking to enhance their career potential in this rapidly growing field. The bachelor’s degree is specifically designed for fire fighters, whose long hours and shift work make it impossible for them to attend classes on a formal campus.
"Convenience is the key," said John Ebersole, Colorado State associate provost. "Anyone can become a student–age, location and time are no longer prohibitive factors. Individual courses, undergraduate or graduate degrees all are available. The freedom to choose how, when and where a student can learn makes higher education accessible to almost everyone."
Two new non-credit courses offered this summer are "Small Business International Trade," a 9-week course conducted entirely online which takes students through the process of starting up an import or export firm; and "Introduction to Music," taught by Linda Kobler, former faculty member of the prestigious Julliard School of Music, which uses interactive techniques to expose students to the wonders of several styles and periods of music. This course is open-entry, meaning students may register and begin study at any time.
"Offering these new non-credit courses totally online is opening new doors for us," said Albert Powell, director of the Colorado State University Network for Learning. "The small business course offers students anywhere–no matter how remote–a way of getting involved in international trade." For example, Powell points out, "We know there are agricultural enterprises and small businesses all over the state who can gain from this course." As for the new music course, it is "thorough, well-designed and a pleasure for students of any age and ability," Powell said. "Of course, when you say ‘Julliard School’ and ‘music’ you’ve just said ‘quality.’"
Additionally, CSUN is adding two credit courses: "BY220-Ecology," an introduction to the concepts and terminology of ecology and ecosystem science; and "CS154-C++to Java," which is designed to assist programmers making the move from C++ to Java. Both are complete online courses.
CSUN provides access to education via a variety of technologies–internet, satellite, two-way interactive video, videotapes and correspondence. By networking with Colorado State’s Cooperative Extension and its offices in 57 counties throughout Colorado, CSUN can provide distance education to almost every county.
Few institutions offer the variety of technologies and breadth of degree programs Colorado State makes available, but if a specific distance program is not offered at Colorado State, the Network for Learning can connect a student to other distance education providers. CSUN is linked to both the Colorado Consortium for Independent Learning and the National Universities Degree Consortium. "Rather than compete, we prefer to work collaboratively with sister institutions to provide the best educational packages possible," Ebersole said.
Other CSUN partnerships include universities within the Colorado State System as well as community colleges that help Colorado State deliver over a dozen graduate degree programs.
Colorado State University has distance education students in all 50 states, six foreign countries and is popular among U.S. military personnel. The school had a 25 percent increase in distance education enrollment this fall. To date, the university’s distance degree programs have graduated nearly 1,000 students.
In 1998, Colorado State University’s distance-delivered Masters of Business Administration program was named one of the 20 best distance degree programs by Forbes magazine. It one of only a handful of MBA programs available totally at a distance that is accredited by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business.
Those interested in learning more about the Colorado State University Network for Learning may contact the nearest Colorado State Cooperative Extension office, access the network directly at http://www.csun.colostate.edu. Or call 1(800) 525-4950.