Recognizing that a number of adult students need to take required general education courses before they can move forward with their majors, Keuka College has decided to make it more convenient for these students by introducing six undergraduate Gen Ed courses online. The College followed the blueprint already employed in its Accelerated Studies For Adults Program (ASAP) to create the new online courses for traditional students.

They courses are available anywhere for students who have Internet access, and the courses are scheduled to run June 13-August 7. The online courses being offered are the following:

  • College English II, taught by Anne Weed
  • History of Western Art, taught by Melissa Newcomb
  • Intro to Philosophy, taught by Mike McKenzie
  • Intro to Sociology, taught by Regi Teasley
  • Wellness, taught by Lori Holloway, and
  • Integrative Studies – Environment, taught by Doug Richards

John Locke, director of instructional design and multi-disciplinary studies in Wertman Office of Distance Education (WODE), said that some adult students enrolling in one of Keuka’s ASAP degree programs need one to three “bridge courses” first to complete enough general education requirements to give them the equivalent of an associates degree before they enroll. Rather than “reinventing the wheel,” Locke said, he suggested customizing the online courses for adults to meet the needs of traditional students.

Enrollment Information

Enrollment began last week and a special web page has been set up at blogs.keuka.edu/edtech/online-summer-courses/ with more details.

Working in conjunction with WODE tech specialists familiar with the College’s distance-learning technology tool, known as Moodle, each instructor syllabus, grade book and assignments have been converted into interactive Moodle pages.

Tim Sellers, associate vice president for academic affairs, said the online course offerings just provide a different “delivery format” of the same curriculum and grading structure students would encounter in a traditional classroom setting. The same professors who teach the traditional 15-week courses over a full semester will also teach the online courses, just in an eight-week time frame, he said.

One section of each course will be offered, and, just like traditional courses, there are enrollment minimums and maximums. But unlike a correspondence course, where a student would simply complete all assignments independently and turn them in prior to a deadline, the classes will be highly interactive. Each week, students will be assigned reading homework, quizzes, papers and other tasks that would “normally happen in a class,” Sellers said.

And according to Locke, Keuka incorporates a human factor into its online courses to help bridge the “digital divide” between student and instructor. In the week prior to the start of the online class, the professor will make one-on-one phone calls to each student. This will be done to help students become familiar with course requirements and also make them feel more comfortable when seeking help from the professor if needed.

Interactive class discussions will not be literal face-to-face video web cam sessions happening at a scheduled time, but will run in an “asynchronous” timeline, using an online technology known as a discussion thread, Sellers said. Students will have to meet requirements for the number of times they interact online with the professor and other students.

“There is a lot of work in a short amount of time and you cannot take a week off,” Sellers stressed in a campus-wide e-mail announcing the online courses.

And after assessing how the initial offering goes, Keuka plans to expand the program next year and offer Gen Ed course credits online to non-Keuka students. From there, the College may consider offering graduate courses online to ASAP students, and ultimately may even offer a Keuka degree solely via distance learning.

About Keuka College

Keuka College was established in 1890 on the shores of Keuka Lake in New York’s Finger Lakes region. Keuka is an independent, four-year, residential, coeducational college that places a strong emphasis on career and pre-professional education.

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