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Degrees Will Soon Be a Click Away at UNC Schools

Posted June 7, 2007

— The digital way is steadily making its way across college campuses. Now, the University of North Carolina system has a plan to overhaul the online experience.

The UNC system plans to offer dozens of online degree, certificate and licensure programs. The concept will allow students and adults across the state the flexibility and convenience that online education provides.

"Young people and working adults all across North Carolina know they need more education to compete and win in a knowledge-based global economy,” said UNC President Erskine Bowles. "They want a degree that means something from established universities they know and trust."

UNC will offer 92 fully online degree programs (35 baccalaureate completion, 55 master’s degrees, two doctoral degrees) and more than 40 online certificate and licensure programs.

UNC Journalism professor Chris Roush teaches a class without ever leaving his office.

"I will e-mail them writing assignments at certain times and certain days," he said. "I think every class we teach eventually will have one section of it online."

It's part of a growing trend in the UNC System. The campuses plan to put more emphasis on their programs and degrees at the University of North Carolina Online.

Officials said the demand for online degrees will be driven by older, working students who do not live within commuting distance of a UNC campus.

Students will enroll in programs or courses through the campus of their choice. Degrees earned by enrolled students will look the same as a degree or diploma obtained on campus and will be awarded by the campus offering the program.

Bowles said the program will benefit state taxpayers because money will not be needed to build buildings to accommodate the extra students.

UNC system officials said they will start marketing the programs to 21- to 44-year-olds using ads on Yahoo! and Monster.com.

Fifteen of the 16 UNC campuses currently offer online options, and all are expected to have them in the fall.

30 Comments

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  • huomenna Jun 9, 8:34 a.m.

    I am personally happy of this. I am now living in Italy, and I cannot go to the university here because they need my transcripts and guess what moore county schools lost them so all I have is a diploma in my hands. In Italy I am considered just a middleschool graduate. That's not all folks, no no, even if they accepted my diploma, I still need a batchlors degree to get in the university here, or take a bunch of state exams, at least if I could do some on-line course at a university that can be trusted, I could maybe get somewhere here in this country. I am floating arond city to city teaching english and doing translations becuase here, if you aren't educated you can't have a job, and it's killing me and my family, hubby and 2 kids, seeing as how where I live is more expenseve than NY city. So I am very happy to hear this, knowing UNC is a trusted school, that my money won't go to waste and the diploma will have some value in the world. I just hope it is sooner and not later.

  • uncblue Jun 8, 8:12 a.m.

    To Mr. French: When was the last time you took an on line course? I have done it for my MBA and I found it to be harder than attending classes. It requires more self descipline and an extensive amount of research. For anyone who thinks a University "gives" out diplomas, nothing could be farther from it. You have to earn it. I challenge Mr. French to attend one of UNC's upper level online courses for a full semester, without quitting, and then see if he is able to make the same assessment about UNC or any other University that does online courses.
    Thanks to UNC and other great institutions for offering the opportunity for all to continue their education.

  • DisgustedNC Jun 8, 7:50 a.m.

    This is the best news I've read in a long time! Well Paris getting her jail time converted to home arrest was great also (sarcasm).

  • mvnull Jun 8, 12:29 a.m.

    The value of online courses depend on two things: The student taking the course must want to learn the material, not just get the credits; and the course has to be the right type. Many science courses, particularly labs, can't be taught that way; at least not and be honest to the course.

    For motivated students, it is a great option. For lazy students, it expands the options for cheating. For hiring someone, if they have taken online courses, it is up to them to prove to me they actually learned the material. Usually, though, I can pick out the cheaters pretty quickly (online or traditional) and they are history -- it just seems more likely with online courses. Hybrid courses are much better -- ones where you do the work online but take exams face-to-face. I also use some techniques to determine when students have not written the papers they turn in.

  • illegals--GO HOME Jun 8, 12:05 a.m.

    Those online courses are very demanding....especially the short, summer sessions as in six weeks you are expected to write two term papers, read about 120 pages a day, do daily postings online and take at least one to two tests each week.......which are so short timed that there is absolutely no way to cheat, at least not that I could find.....you either know it or you don't and I dare say some in-person classes would not pass these very short timed tests. But, it is convenient especially for the working person to complete degrees! ! G O ... U N C.....

  • heelsfan17 Jun 7, 11:34 p.m.

    I just finished a degree in nursing. I took several pre-req classes online. Theses classes are very demanding and one must be self-motivated in order to keep up. The tests are not simple and you definitely don't have the time to research the questions while you are taking the test (they are timed). Whether you will do well on these online classes depends upon what kind of learner you are. It takes motivation and determination.

  • thatgirlyeahher Jun 7, 11:10 p.m.

    Anyone that thinks credible online courses aren't rigorous has apparently never taken an online course.
    I think it's wonderful. I am a full-time college student and if it were not for some online offerings by my school, I wouldn't be able to take the course load that I do. It makes it much more convenient for me to be able to handle at least one class from home. I will be able to graduate on time and still keep my 'day job'.
    Kudos to UNC.

  • swddancer Jun 7, 8:17 p.m.

    Mr. French;
    I have to ask. Do you feel that just because a course is online that it lacks academic rigor?

  • swddancer Jun 7, 8:16 p.m.

    Hip Shot
    Contact me at swddancer at nc dot rr dot com. I may be able to point you to a few places that could very well use your skills.

  • Hip-Shot Jun 7, 8:03 p.m.

    " Any time you get a degree, you increase your marketability and hence your pay check. I am jaded because when it comes right down to it, people will do almost anything for more money ..."

    Well, I would think that was so, but I graduated from ECU last year with a degree in Informaton and Computer Technology, with several Cisco certifications and cannot get hired in my field. Nobody will hire me without experience and I have tried most every firm in RTP. Until recently, I was working on a shipping dock loading trucks.

    I took several courses online, including some configuring routers and switches for the Cisco curriculum and the online courses did beat driving back and forth to Greenville to Rocky Mount each day. I really can't see that cheating is an issue with education online the way mine was done: there simply was not enough lead time available to pay someone to wite an essay or that type of thing. They would have had to have advance knowledge of the questions.

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