Friday, September 10, 2004
Colorado Mountain College officials hope the second year of a program that allows students to earn bachelor's degrees online will attract more students than the program's inaugural run did.
CMC's Alpine Campus in Steamboat Springs began a partnership last year with Franklin University for an online bachelor's degree program that offers 10 majors. For CMC officials, the partnership was a potential answer to community interest in a four-year degree program in Routt County.
But program enrollment during the partnership's first year was slow, with only one student participating. The college isn't overly concerned, however, because interest in the program was high and programs such as this one often take time to catch on, CMC student services counselor Dan Schaffrick said.
"We've had a lot of interest, particularly from our adult students and community students," Schaffrick said. "A lot of these things are slow to take hold."
Perhaps the biggest reason online course programs are slow to catch on is because of the commitment students must show to complete them successfully.
"It's a big commitment for people," Schaffrick said.
But online course programs also offer a unique opportunity to interested students -- the chance to earn a degree without moving to a city with a four-year school.
"It does provide convenience for those people who don't want to leave their jobs, their families and their homes," Schaffrick said.
The partnership, part of the Community College Alliance program, allows students to combine on-campus coursework at CMC with Franklin University's online courses. After students complete their associate's degrees at CMC, they take 24 credit hours of approved bridge coursework. Bridge courses are classes offered at CMC and approved by Franklin University for the bachelor's degree program. Students complete the final 40 hours toward their bachelor's degrees through Franklin University's online courses. Bridge courses and online courses can be taken simultaneously.
The 10 majors offered through the partnership are accounting, applied management, business administration, computer science, digital communication, health care management, information technology, management, management information sciences and public safety management. A 17-month MBA program also is available online.
Tuition for Franklin University's online courses range from $233 to $292 per credit hour. Other fees may be required.
CMC is hosting a video conference information session with Franklin University regional director Bill Chan on Sept. 22. The session is from 11:30 a.m. to noon in Bristol Hall, Room 244. Schaffrick will attend the session to answer any questions prospective students might have.
The college plans to hold informational conference sessions about the program periodically throughout the academic year. Schaffrick and others at CMC think interest in participating in the partnership will increase as word spreads about the program.
"I'm hoping that enrollment will grow as time goes on, because I think it's a good opportunity for those of us who live here in a more remote area of the state," Schaffrick said.
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