A growing opportunity to complete masters degrees online

Toni Hunt

The options for online-only graduate programs offered through Kent State University experienced growth with the addition of two new concentrations.

The idea of student flexibility is the focus for the health policy and management masters program offered by the College of Public Health, and the art education masters program offered by the College of Arts.

“We wanted to offer the most flexibility possible for today’s…busy students,” said Linda Hoeptner-Poling, an associate professor of Art and a graduate adviser. “For some of them, to come to campus is a hardship.”

Hoeptner-Poling said after surveying students four years ago and following up with research to check if an online program was possible, the college worked with the Educational Technology faculty to translate the course load of a traditional class to an online environment.

Willie H. Oglesby, assistant professor and director of the master’s of public health program, said that online graduate programs can take up to a year to get approved. He said the cost of creating such a program can be relatively low, but the time invested is very demanding.

“It takes times to develop quality courses, whether it’s taught online or on ground,” he said. “We have (a) faculty that is very committed to providing a different educational experience for the different type of students who want to (get) our degrees.”

Oglesby said that the university’s Office of Continuing and Distance Education (OCDE) has been instrumental in the process of integrating the program.

“We have very strong support from the university, particularly with the OCDE to help us develop and deliver high quality classes,” he said. “They’ve been extremely helpful working with us and the faculty to help leverage all of the technological capabilities that the university has.”

Students can benefit greatly when it comes to these categories of higher learning. It allows students with busier schedules to take care of their families and still get their degrees.

Gabriel McConn, a graduate student majoring in public health, said that he chose to take the online program because of Kent State’s reputation.

“It’s a nice way that I can continue my education and help to advance my career choices and still take care of what I need to around (home,)” McConn said.

McConn said taking the courses online instead of on campus differs in the way the class communicates, but he still recommends the program to other students.

“The instructors have done a very good job so far of…creating variety within the course, so it (never) gets dull,” McConn said. “It’s very satisfying and very informative.”

To find out more about the additional programs offered online, visit Kent State Online.

Toni Hunt is the health and education beat reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]