University pushing to offer more online classes

Cassandra Beck

Kent State is working to provide students with more online classes and master degree programs.

Online classes offer students the option of staying on track with their degree and GPA. Other students from other universities might also take advantage of Kent State’s large online class selection and transfer the credit to their home university.

Here are just a few of the classes offered online:

The Art of Theater

Social Problems

Introduction to Sociology

Principles of Macroeconomics

Principles of Microeconomics

Dance as an Art Form

Introduction to Human Communication

The Roman Achievement

The Greek Achievement

Introduction to Organic Chemistry

Currently, there are over 500 online courses offered at Kent, including all regional campuses. These range from core classes to specific classes required for majors and programs.

“Putting more classes online, including the core classes that more students need to take or ones that are more popular, has been a work in progress,” said Deborah Huntsman, executive director of the Office of Continuing Distance Education. “I was hired to work on integrating online programs and online courses across the whole university system.”

Huntsman said the university hopes to keep students on track by adding additional classes online instead of forcing them to wait if they can’t get into a class. Core classes have been under debate over the past year about what classes should be offered and if certain requirements should be reduced.

“Faculty and the Provost’s Office have been looking at the core classes with considerable conversation to help streamline the set of core classes,” Huntsman said. “It is a work in progress, and we are looking to offer as many online classes as we can to keep students in sequence with their degree.”

Popular core classes online include music as a world phenomenon, general psychology and college writing I and II. Core classes tend to fill up quickly because it may be a required class for many students or because they are the most popular. Because of the demand, more classes are being offered online.

But core classes aren’t the only things being added to online education. Full online master programs are now offered at Kent State in certain concentrations.

A masters in music education and in journalism and mass communication with a concentration in public relations are offered 100 percent online, allowing people from all over the U.S. to attend Kent State without actually being on-campus.

Other master programs in public health and library science are in the beginning phases of going online.

“We have some master programs that are not fully online, but they will be eventually.” Huntsman said. “We understand that some students have families, full time jobs or live too far away from Kent, so more classes and entire master programs are being added.”

Last summer, nearly half of Kent State’s enrollment was online, and more professors are becoming interested in teaching online.

“Online courses are an equivalent experience to being in the class; it’s different learning, but the outcome should be the same.” Huntsman said. “The university understands college is expensive, and with offering more classes that students need online, we hope to have more students graduate in four years.”

Contact Cassandra Beck at [email protected].