Thursday, June 28, 2012

WSU launches Global Campus

WSU Online is about to become part of an ambitious and far-reaching new campus, the Global Campus. The story is in WSU News.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Super-sundae: 600-foot banana split

banana split fan1Video: “This is the best ice-cream-eating thing ever.”
(Here’s one of the many great events organized by WSU’s Conference Management unit.)

By Katie Roenigk/(Moscow-Pullman) Daily News
     On Monday afternoon, about 400 teenagers and 100 adults lined up in front of the Washington State University Compton Union Building to help devour a 600-foot banana split ice cream sundae that spanned the length of two football fields along the Glenn Terrell Friendship Mall.
     The challenge was part of this year's Summer Teen Conference through the WSU Extension. The conference takes place annually, but planning team member Pam Watson said she's never seen such a large snack for a group of hungry teens. She has seen a giant banana split before, however.
     "Our State (4H) Ambassadors, which is a group of about 16 kids, have been doing this off and on at their meetings," Watson said. "So we wanted to try it here."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Newspaper covers new psych degree

imageMore info about WSU Online’s new psychology degree, from the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. By Katie Roenigk, Daily News staff writer
     The more than 3,000 students enrolled at Washington State University's online campus will have the opportunity to explore a new degree when they sign up for classes next fall.
     For the first time, Cougars who take classes via the Internet can pursue a Bachelor of Science in psychology.
     Samathana Swindell, a WSU professor who helped develop some of the psychology courses offered online, said the new degree comes as the result of student demand.
    "For a long time there has been a tremendous interest among students majoring in a general social science area," Swindell said. "They're interested in pursuing psychology specifically." More...     Administrators have known for several years that a psychology degree would be appreciated by the online student body, but Swindell said the time was not right to launch the new program until recently.
     "We've been offering several classes, but we weren't able to put together a full curriculum for an online degree," Swindell said, explaining that funding and faculty had to be recruited for the expansion. "But that opportunity recently became available, so we spoke to faculty about that possibility and were able to move forward. ... We had people well-positioned to be able to develop those courses, and we seemed to foresee we'd be able in the long term to have instructors to teach those courses."
     Rebecca Craft, chair of the psychology department, said it is difficult to quantify how much it cost to develop the online psychology degree.
     "We developed the courses required for the major over many, many years," Craft said this week.
     Officials said the degree offers a comprehensive understanding of basic psychology and knowledge of scientific methods.
Job prospects
     According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor Statistics, the employment outlook for psychologists is projected to grow by 22 percent from 2010-2012 - faster than average. Swindell said the online psychology degree offers students a "highly marketable" set of talents that will prepare them for graduate work in psychology, social work, education, law, medicine and business.
     "We emphasize critical thinking (and) developing communication skills, whether written or oral, and I think that skill set applies across a variety of different career interests or job openings," she said. "And I think there's a lot of interest in psychology as a discipline in general, just understanding human behavior. Many people have fundamental questions about human behavior."
     She guessed that online students will be eager to take advantage of the new psychology degree, but officials at WSU's Center for Distance and Professional Education say it is too soon to gauge enrollment numbers for the fall.
     They have received a handful of inquiries about the degree already, however, and Richard Miller, the senior marketing communications coordinator for WSU Online, said he quickly heard from one student who now plans to earn a psychology degree. Previously, the student was working toward a degree in social sciences with an emphasis in developmental psychology.
     Swindell said her department strives to ensure online students receive an education in psychology that is comparable to the one students earn when they study on campus, though she added that there are fewer classes available online currently.
     "That's something we'll be able to address in the coming years," she said. "In terms of just core learning goals, we see the online program as equivalent to the on-campus program."
     The deadline to apply for fall semester is July 13, and all transcripts must be sent by July 27. For resident undergraduates in fall 2013, online courses will cost $569 per credit for part-time students, or $5,693 total for full-time students taking 10-18 credits.
     For nonresidents, the cost of an online degree is $729 per credit for part-time students, or $7,283 total for full-time students taking 10-18 credits.
     In comparison, undergraduate state residents who study on campus next semester will pay about $10,800 total in tuition, and out-of-state undergraduates will pay $23,956.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tuition rates, and a Top 10 list

     WSU Online has just posted its tuition rates for Fall 2012-Spring 2013. Here's a link.
     In the last few months, people have been taking a hard look at the cost of college, and asking, "Is a college degree worth it?" The answer is generally yes, with a degree expected to bring an additional $300,000 to $600,000 of earnings over a lifetime. But that's a very rough estimate. It depends on what skills you already have, and how you decide to use your degree.
     A question we can answer with more certainty is, "How do I get the most value for my educational dollar?" WSU Online's executive director, David Cillay, recently offered this Top 10 checklist:
More... 1. Reputation. Will your diploma impress employers? If you don’t know, ask your friends and family what they think. Then do an Internet search and see what students say.
2. Quality of instruction. Look up a few faculty members online and examine their resumes. Do they work for the college or are they teaching in their spare time? Do they have a role in designing the courses? If so, they’re more likely to take a personal interest in the quality.
3. Cost per credit and number of credits needed. That information should be readily available online. If it’s not clearly stated, proceed carefully.
4. Social events. Studying online can be lonely. If a college offers social gatherings, it shows it is dedicated to providing social as well as academic support.
5. Availability of materials. Is there free library access, for example?
6. Support services. Tech support? Career counselors? Academic advisors?
7. Is there a student government? An alumni association? Both show that the college cares about more than finances, and that alumni are proud of their college.
8. Bricks and mortar campus. There are excellent online colleges that don’t have campuses. But a real campus creates a sense of belonging – and helps impress employers. Sports teams also can bring an esprit de corps that’s useful in networking.
9. Go online and search for the college’s name. Scroll past the promotional materials and look for an unfiltered view from other students and graduates.
10. Call and ask to talk with someone. See if you get a sales pitch or someone genuinely interested in your future.