July 7, 2008

CSU Launching Global Campus for Online Learners

By Julie Poppen

Call it the next wave in online learning.

The Colorado State University System is launching Internet courses based on the needs of employers and employees, going head to head with private, job-oriented colleges that tailor their degree programs to the business and professional worlds.

"There's a whole host of people out there who can't get to a campus," said Richard Schweigert, CEO of the CSU-Global Campus. "All of our degree programs will be market driven. We ask the customers what they want to see. We think we're blazing the trail here as far as large public universities in the western United States."

CSU has long offered online learning degree programs through its continuing education program - as most large colleges and universities do. But those programs mirror ones already offered on CSU's physical campuses in Fort Collins and Pueblo.

The CSU-Global Campus is carving a new niche as it attempts to attract an audience in search of professional development opportunities.

Already, it has forged relationships with state agencies, such as the Department of Corrections and the Colorado Department of Transportation, to offer courses relating directly to them.

For instance, of its four degree programs, the bachelor of science in public management offers a specialization in public safety.

Based in Greenwood Village, CSU-Global Campus is hiring its own faculty rather than tapping the existing CSU pool. All hires are expected to have experience in online education.

"What CSU is doing is sort of a next step for the more sophisticated, more advanced online programs," said Bob Samors, vice president for research and science policy for the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges.

The CSU Board of Governors loaned CSU-Global Campus $12 million from campus reserves with the expectation it be paid back in five years. Future degree programs could focus on K-12 education, health care and alternative energy technology.

Ideally, 20 degree programs will be offered to 21,000 students.

Becky Takeda-Tinker, a faculty leader at CSU-Global Campus, said grades will be weighted heavily on a student's participation in online discussions.

"We are really interested in getting them to learn the information, so they can apply it," Takeda-Tinker said. "This isn't about just getting a grade, so you can move on."


CSU-Global Campus

* Students enrolled 98

* Degrees offered Bachelor's in leadership and organizational studies, and public management; master's in online teaching and learning, and organizational leadership

* Class size 15 to 18 students

* Tuition Undergraduate, $449 per credit hour, minus $100 if you live in Colorado, another $100 if you sign up this fall. Graduate cost is $549, same discounts.

* Program highlights Advisers create personalized plans based on student goals; guaranteed faculty response to student questions within 24 hours; grades based on customized projects, not midterms or finals.


Originally published by Julie Poppen, Rocky Mountain News.

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