UCCS to add full online communication degree

Oct. 5, 2015

Alexander Nedd
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The communication department is looking to add their first complete online degree for students beginning next fall.

With an online degree available, communication professors at UCCS believe they are offering an adaptive culture for students to learn in.

Communication chair David Nelson is one of the professors working toward the online degree program.

“It’s a general communication degree that will require six (communication) classes and six electives to make up the student track,” said Nelson.

Carmen Stavrositu, an associate professor in communication, said she was brought on to the campus in 2007 and is excited about the new offer for students.

“The communication department has worked toward offering an undergraduate online degree for some time now,” said Stavrositu.

Brett Yager, a junior and digital film communication major, said a full online degree wouldn’t be as beneficial for students in regards to experience.

“Our field is very hands on,” Yager said. “A lot of the education is going out and doing that. For a general communication degree it might be useful.”

But he also thinks online classes can be positive.

“I think it’s great, I had an online class for geology and that was great because I didn’t have to go to a class and be bored out of my mind.”

Nelson pointed out the program isn’t designed to attract students such as Yager.

“In person classes will not go away,” Nelson said. “This is targeted to people such as the military who move around a lot and will now have the ability to take their classes with them.”

“I just feel that there is that disconnect between students and teachers,” said Yager who is worried the degree would cut out that needed interaction.

While student input has been varied so far, Stavrositu believes the pros outweigh the cons.

“From accommodating potential students in more rural parts of the state and those who are in the military or work full-time, to even attracting students from out of state, the flexibility that these online degrees offer is undeniable.”

Stavrositu explained how tedious a process it is to offer a complete degree to students from the comfort of their own home.

“A sufficient number of our existing faculty need to have training in online teaching,” she said. “Several of our courses need to be developed for online delivery.”

The process doesn’t stop there.

“Then come the more logistical aspects of the project that are less under our control,” Stavrositu said.

“For us to be able to offer a full degree online, required general education courses that come from other departments on campus also need to also be offered online. We may also need to hire additional faculty to teach those courses.”

Stavrositu also said other colleges within the campus are looking to offer online degrees.

“There are several departments on campus that have either already successfully developed fully online degrees online such as an MBA degree or are in the process of doing so, such as sociology.”

Online classes are some of the most popular classes, according to Stavrositu.

“These (courses) are among our most popular,” she said. “They always fill up very fast, and students seem to have received them really well.”

Students taking the course can expect all assignments to be turned in over the internet, never in class. Stavrositu said online course assignments, exams and class discussions are administered online using the Blackboard learning management system.