You can now study online to earn a graduate degree or a certificate from Northwest University. In the coming months, the opportunities to earn degrees online will continue to expand. “We have wanted to offer programs online for quite a while,” states Dr. Jim Heugel, the University’s Provost (chief academic officer). “We didn’t jump too quickly because we wanted to ensure that what we offer is of the highest quality. We are tremendously pleased with the courses we now offer, and we are excited about the future.”
Our ability to offer great classes online is to a great extent the result of the experience we have gained in recent years using the web to enhance many of our regular classes.
We use a system called Discovery, by which each class can offer students a variety of resources, including the syllabus, bibliography, exercises, and other resources. Students can upload papers and other assignments online. It’s faster, more convenient, and more environmentally sensitive.
It also, surprisingly enough to those who haven’t experienced it, can help provide a greater sense of community.
Typical assignments for either on-campus or online classes can require a student to read certain material, write a response or an evaluation, and post it as a commentary. Each student in the class then responds to what the others have submitted.
In some circles, this is called a forum. In the web at large, it’s also called a threaded discussion. “There are numerous interactive opportunities available to professors and students in our online classes,” reports Ben Thomas, Director of Extended Education. “Resources include video lectures, class discussions, podcasting, wikis, and more.
“Our online courses offer many of the capabilities that traditional courses do. For example, students can create individual presentations or they can collaborate and present group projects,” Ben adds.
“The goal of every online class is to provide each student with three strong and rewarding interactions,” notes Lis Kraus, the Associate Director of Curriculum in the Office of Extended Education. “These interactions are with the subject material, with the professor, and with the other students.”