Casper College Bucks the National Trend
College adds three new online degrees in year
At Casper College, distance education enrollment accounts for 25 percent of the total full-time equivalent (FTE) student numbers and it continues to grow. The Casper College Distance Education program has added three new online degrees to its existing five online degrees within the last academic year. The eight degrees are accounting, general studies, general agriculture, hospitality, agribusiness, computer science, early childhood education, and fire science.
“With technology enhancements and changes, creating and maintaining quality online education is vital,” said David Siemens, director of the digital learning department, who noted that the goal of the Casper College Distance Education program is students first.
“The flexible scheduling, reasonable cost, and outstanding reputation of the Casper College accounting department make this an incredible opportunity for a student to complete their accounting degree without having to relocate,” said Gary Becker, who has taught in the accounting department full time for the last seven years. “These degrees online allow the student to study when they want because they want to,” Siemens said.
Casper College’s online FTE over a 10-year period has increased by 10 percent. Within this last academic year Casper College’s distance education program had the second largest increase at two percent. Siemens attributes this growth to the great faculty and the hard work of his team. Teresa Millan, digital learning specialist stated “Learn anywhere, anytime.” Of course, this is one of the benefits of online education.
“If your course requires you to travel a lot like the forensic team, judging team, or if you are on the rodeo team, you will no longer miss your class. As long as there is an Internet connection, you can access your class anywhere, anytime. We at the Digital Learning Center of Casper College pride ourselves in putting ‘Students First,’” said Siemens. “This means that we always have our students’ success in mind for every innovation we implement in our department. We do not give them the answers to a test or quiz but we give them the tools to be successful. We assist them with technology, and provide training if they need it. We provide access to high quality online courses through the use of emerging technology,” Siemens added.
At Casper College students become engaged through distance education, and they have many positive comments about their experience. One student on an anonymous course evaluation form wrote, “The use of technology to provide instruction to online students was extremely helpful. I was able to virtually attend every class taught and gain the information I needed.” Another student wrote, “The instructor made it easy to understand compared to other online courses by video-recording his actual class lessons. This was extremely useful, as I could pause the video to try the work, and I knew I was learning the same as in-class students. If I did not understand something, I could email the instructor and always got a response within a reasonable time frame.”
“Online education is about the student and quality online learning is a must. Within our community our online population is growing and continues to thrive,” said Siemens.
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