Two departments add online programs for students

By News Editor Ciera Golliver

After only three months on UNA’s campus, Ross Alexander, vice president of Academic Affairs and provost, announced the addition of two online courses within the next year.

“Overall, our strategy is to take the very good online programs that we already have and market them better, engage new groups of students from well beyond our region and have them be of the utmost quality, “ Alexander said.

The university will offer a Bachelor’s of Business Administration as an online degree program beginning spring 2018.

Alexander said this is an example of an online undergraduate degree program geared toward working professionals all across the world.

Sophomore Sebastian Motley said the online programs are a great option for students who have to work multiple jobs to pay for school and other responsibilities.

“It allows you to have a little more peace of mind in a situation that doesn’t really have financial comfort because you don’t have to set aside part of your time to come take classes on campus,” Motley said.

The university will also add a Master’s in Mathematics in fall 2018.

Alexander said the university wanted to capitalize on the market for this program because there are very few universities offering this online.

He said he is proud of the mathematics faculty at UNA and the way they stepped up to the task of creating a new graduate program online.

“This is an incredible opportunity for us to capitalize on our mathematics faculty,” Alexander said. “Our mathematics faculty are some of the most scholarly and productive members on campus.”

Alexander said he would be comfortable comparing UNA’s mathematics faculty to larger universities because of their hard work and knowledge.

Senior math major Cody McCrary said he does not think an online program is beneficial.

“The program is a good thought, but you benefit the most in math by taking classes in person,” McCrary said.

Along with these new programs, the university will take a new approach to UNA’s existing online programs.

The existing undergraduate and graduate online programs will transition from traditional 16 week courses to eight week courses.

Alexander said this will allow the university to enroll students more often and keep these enrolled students involved at UNA by allowing them to start classes eight weeks sooner.

He said research shows adult learners and graduate students typically prefer the eight week courses more.

All programs the university adds will be eight weeks. The rest of the online programs will gradually transition to an eight week schedule.

The first program UNA will implement as an eight week course will be the Bachelors of Business Administration program when in begins in the spring.

Alexander said UNA hired people to come teach professors how to set up an online class and effectively manage it.

Freshman Austin Lee said online programs are a good market for UNA.

“If people have young children, they can’t always afford to pay for childcare,” Lee said. “Online programs allow them the opportunity to take care of their child and better their life at the same time.”

Alexander said he hopes UNA’s new online programs will complement the traditional courses the university offers and the revenue it generates will support the campus.

He said UNA will look strategically for new online programs to implement in the future.