Rogers State to offer degrees via computer


Wednesday, December 22nd 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


CLAREMORE, Okla. (AP) -- Rogers State University plans to launch a virtual campus where students can earn four-year degrees through their computers. The university announced the program Tuesday, saying it will be the first in Oklahoma to offer bachelor's degrees entirely via the Internet.

The school plans to launch the program next fall, if state regents and an accreditation board give their approval. "It's going to allow us to go a long ways toward satisfying a shortage of bachelor degree holders in northeast Oklahoma," said Rogers State President Joe Wiley. Rogers State already offers more than 35 online courses and students currently can complete requirements for three associate's degrees via the Internet.

eCollege.com, a Denver-based company that specializes in online learning services, has given the university a $325,000 grant to launch the new program. The company will provide the tools to put the course on the Internet, including links to financial aid, an online bookstore and other student services. University faculty will create the online curriculum. "We provide the classroom," Wiley said.

Rogers State's virtual campus will offer three online degrees --business information technology, applied technology and liberal arts -- beginning next fall. The university's governing board has approved the plan. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools also must give their OKs.

The tuition for the online courses will be higher than traditional instruction since part of the funds go to pay for technology and the services of eCollege.com, Wiley said. Courses will run about $90 per hour compared with $47 on campus. But Wiley noted that on-campus students also must pay parking fees and student activity fees that raise those rates to about $60 per credit hour.

Wiley said he believes in the traditional college experience and that online work isn't for every student. "Those interested in pursuing our online degree programs may include working adults with busy schedules, active-duty personnel at military bases around the world, college students who want convenient class times, high school students who wish to get a jump on their education and retired persons who wish to continue learning to enrich their lives," Wiley said. The university currently has 385 students representing 29 different states and three foreign countries enrolled in its online program.