Thursday, March 29, 2012

WSU launches new online sessions

David Cillay2David Cillay: “These options let students earn their degrees faster and more efficiently.”

     Washington State University is launching several new online options to help students accelerate their educations.
     The Intersession allows students to earn three credits in three weeks, and runs July 28-Aug. 19, between summer and fall semester.
     Two new six-week online sessions will be offered during summer semester, in addition to the regular 12-week courses. The sessions run from May 7-June 15, and June 18-July 27. About 40 six-week courses will be offered.
     “These options let students earn their degrees faster and more efficiently,” said David Cillay, assistant vice provost and executive director of the Center for Distance and Professional Education, which includes WSU Online. “It’s important that we provide flexibility for those whose lives don’t fit into a traditional academic schedule.” More...      The new sessions are open to both on-campus and online students. Priority registration for the sessions opens April 9. Summer registration is available in zzusis. Registration for the new Intersession is at
     WSU’s first launch of an accelerated online session came in December 2010, when the University piloted a three-week online Winter Session. The popularity of that session led to its expansion in 2011.
     “Delivering courses over the Internet removes geographic barriers,” Cillay said. “Expanding beyond season-based semesters removes scheduling obstacles—and both help fulfill our land grant mission of increasing access to a WSU education.”

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tacoma photos now on Facebook

Our photo booth pictures are now available on our Facebook page. If you're in a picture and want to share it with your Facebook friends, just tag yourself.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A full menu at Tacoma Rendezvous

DSC_9783teddy bearThere was a box of teddy bears for a Pierce County food bank. A resource fair. A long table full of food with a carving station at the end. And, just outside the hotel banquet room, a photo booth where visitors had a great time striking poses to dance music as they were egged on by the irrepressible Butch T. Cougar.

Nearly 100 students, family members, and WSU Online staffers gathered Saturday for the annual Tacoma Rendezvous at the Marriott hotel. Some students discovered they were sitting next to a classmate. Others met their academic consultant for the first time or swapped tips about raising teenagers or networked about career opportunities.

If you live on the West Side and missed this fun event, please come next year. If you’ll have already graduated by then, don’t worry. We’re planning several graduation parties, including our first party in Seattle.

Select this link for a list of upcoming events, and we hope to see you at the next one.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

WSU Online launches Seattle grad party

erica vieiraWSU Program Coordinator Erica Vieira is the advisor to the WSU online student government and a 2011 WSU Online graduate.

WSU Online grad partyIn 1994, the newsletter for WSU distance students announced a pilot program to create “electronic-mail stations” in 10 cities. An opinion column recommended buying a WSU Online Seattle eventcomputer— so long as the modem wasn’t faster than 9,600 baud. And the cover showed the distance program’s first graduation reception, which drew three out of the five spring semester graduates to the Pullman campus.

Today, email is ubiquitous, young people might assume “baud” refers to Shakespeare, and WSU Online routinely welcomes hundreds of students to its face-to-face events. On April 28, WSU Online is adding one more, the first graduation reception in King County. WSU President Elson S. Floyd will address the Seattle gathering.

King County holds the largest number of WSU Online students, more than 400, said Erica Vieira, program coordinator for the online student government, which organizes and funds student events. Neighboring Snohomish and Pierce counties are second and third, respectively.

“Traveling to Pullman during graduation season can be quite stressful for West Side students,” Vieira said. “The ASWSU Online student government wanted to help those students share this wonderful moment of pride and accomplishment.”

One graduate didn’t choose between the Pullman and Seattle celebrations. She’s coming to both.

“I have family on both sides of the mountains,” said Darene Follett, of Anacortes, Wash. “I wanted to thank them all for being my inspiration, and for letting me use the time I would otherwise be spending with them to fulfill my life-long dream.”

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dishing up some great new courses

pinkdishcropFrom restaurant management to philosophy in films, from plant biotechnology to American Sign Language, summer semester brings more than a dozen new or redesigned online courses. So check with your academic consultant, check the course schedule and see what suits you. Here’s the list of what’s new:

  • HBM 320 - John Mangiantini
  • HBM 381 - Dennis Reynolds
  • HBM 491 - Christina (Geng-Qing) Chi
  • HBM 494 - Hyun Jeong Kim
  • HD 420 - Kathleen Rodgers
  • Hort 480 - Amit Dhingra
  • Phil 101 - Zoe Aleshire
  • Phil 210 - Joe Campbell
  • PolS 436 - Dana Baker
  • Psych 105 - Kathryn Becker-Blease
  • Psych 401 - Kathryn Becker-Blease
  • SHS 201 - Melissa Ratsch
  • SHS 202 - Melissa Ratsch

Friday, March 9, 2012

Teenager is firefighter, Marine, student

gilberto gonzalez coverOne of our amazing WSU Online  students, Gilberto Gonzalez, is featured on the cover of Washington state’s largest bilingual newspaper.

You can check out the story in Spanish at Tu Decides, or read it in English below:

By Richard H. Miller/Center for Distance and Professional Education

PULLMAN—Except for the buzz cut, Gilberto Gonzalez seems like a typical wholesome 19-year-old: Enthusiastic, helpful, a bit shy. But when he’s asked to stand in front of the fire truck for a photo, it all changes. He raises his chin, squares his shoulders. His eyes narrow, and grow fierce with pride.

Gilberto is a trainee at the Benton City, Wash., fire station. He lives across the street in a house he shares with five other Benton County Fire District 2 volunteer residents. He’s also a lance corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and trains at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma.

“I was helping my nation with the Marine Corps Reserves but I wanted to help my community too,” Gilberto said. “What better than working here as a firefighter?”

When he’s not protecting his country and community, Gilberto is preparing to fight crime. He’s earning an online criminal justice degree from Washington State University so he can become a fire marshal. He enrolled at WSU Online shortly after graduating from Kiona-Benton City High School. More...
A shift toward four-year online degrees

“Historically, students came to WSU Online with existing college credits and saw the online program as a way complete their degrees,” said David Cillay, executive director of the Center for Distance and Professional Education, which includes WSU Online. “We’re beginning to experience a shift in our student population. A lot of students like Gilberto wanted to come here for the full four years.”

Cillay said those freshmen students will find WSU Online mirrors the campus experience in many ways, such as courses taught by WSU professors, the prestige of a WSU diploma, excellent advisors, and chances to socialize at events organized by the nation’s first online student government.

Easier to balance work, academics

Bailey Young, 21, enrolled in WSU Online as a freshman last May. She works at a private K-12 school in Idaho, and had no way to fit campus visits into her work schedule. “I’ve learned so much, even more than I expected,” Bailey said.

She praised the academics—“great classes, great professors”—and student services staff: “They’re so helpful. They’re very good about getting back to you right away.”

Larissa Dvorak graduated from Mt. Spokane High School in 2011 and enrolled in WSU Online this semester. She does her coursework in the morning, freeing her to work later in the day, and is living at home to save money. “I wanted to take more responsibility for my tuition,” she said. “And I can help my mom do chores, start dinner and take care of my two sisters.”

Parents filled with pride

Gilberto also does his coursework first thing in the morning. He brings his books to the fire station in case he has any free time, and he does his homework in bed before falling asleep.

Gilberto is the first college student in his family. His mother dropped out of middle school and his father—“he’s been working farm life all his life”—never went to school at all. When he was at boot camp, Gilberto said, he’d get a letter from his parents every few weeks. There was one that he kept.

“My father explained how proud he was of me,” Gilberto said. “He was just so proud… he just wrote it all through the letter.”

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Online grad to try online teaching

Teresa and Kayla SheeleyTeresa Sheeley, left, with her daughter, Kayla.

When Teresa Sheeley graduated from WSU Online last May, she wasn’t done with online education. The Omak, Wash., artist is preparing to teach her own online course, Make Something Beautiful.

“Taking courses from WSU Online inspired me to teach something I know online,” Sheeley said.

Teresa is well known as a regional artist; she sells her work online and at arts and crafts shows, such as The Farm Chicks.

Teresa’s online co-instructor is her daughter, Kayla, who graduated from WSU-Pullman last May with her fine arts degree. The course runs March 19-April 15, and covers different techniques, with a little art history thrown in.

“We will have videos, and Kayla will teach things she learned from attending campus classes,” Teresa said.

Most of the prospective students have long wanted to take art lessons, Teresa said, but have been prevented by time or distance.

“Having this outlet really opens up the learning experience,” Teresa said, “just as WSU Online does for students across the country and beyond.” 

(For more on Teresa and Kayla, here’s a 2011 story.)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Summer course schedule now online

snyderWSU has just posted its menu of online summer courses. Summer registration doesn’t begin until April 9, but if you’re an online student, you’re probably an overachiever and want to plan things way in advance.

Among the courses offered this summer is the mind-expanding Philosophy 413, Mind of God and Book of Nature, which explores the intersection of religion and physics.
We wrote about the course when it was launched in fall 2009.

If you’re not a WSU Online student yet, please remember that the deadline to apply is March 30.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Cougar comes back to the pack

Todd Olson and his family of CougarsTodd Olson, bottom right, and his Cougar clan.

Not everyone in Todd Olson’s family went to Washington State University. Some went to Washington State College.
     “I count 14 relatives” who are Cougars, said Olson. That number encompasses four generations going back to the 1920s, and includes great-aunts and uncles, father, mother, sister, wife, nephews, nieces, and a variety of in-laws.
     Olson was himself working toward a degree at WSU-Pullman in 1989. Then he dropped out due to a common pitfall: Youth.
More...     “The best reason I can give you is that I was 20,” he said.  “I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I thought I would take a year off.  Then I met a girl and tried to transfer to where she got a job teaching, and didn’t get in.”
     The girl was Kelli Campbell. She’s been Kelli Olson for 19 years. The couple has two children and lives in Bonney Lake, Wash.
     Todd became director of operations for a granite and marble wholesaler in Seattle. He realized that he needed a college degree for both professional mobility and personal pride. “There are certain expectations in my family,” he said. “I’m the only one in my family who hasn’t finished college, and I always regretted that.
     Future generations also had an influence. “I have always stressed the importance of school to both of my kids,” he said, “and felt somewhat hypocritical not having finished myself.”
     Because he was working full time, he wanted an online program. Given his family history, he didn’t have much trouble choosing where to apply. Todd was accepted into WSU Online on Feb. 15 and begins work on his business degree this summer. That makes him the 15th and newest Coug in the family. But his daughter, 17, and son, 14, are already imbued with the family tradition:
     “Both my kids knew the WSU fight song before they were in kindergarten,” Olson said.