Online course offerings for fall semester rise at SUNY Oswego

The numbers are up for online course sections this fall at SUNY Oswego, thanks to increased interest among prospective students, support from academic deans and department chairs, participation and flexibility among faculty members and a new online MBA program.

Thomas Ingram, director of academic programs for the college’s Division of Extended Learning, said SUNY Oswego is offering 119 online course sections in fall 2011, an increase of more than 60 percent over the 74 offered a year ago.

While some of the online sections replace ones that might have been offered on SUNY Oswego’s main campus, Ingram said that is not true of face-to-face course offerings at the SUNY Oswego Metro Center in downtown Syracuse.

“The Metro Center continues to become more and more popular for several of our graduate programs, and thus few if any of the courses being taught there have been replaced by online offerings,” Ingram said.

The trend fits with the overall strategy to support flexibility for SUNY Oswego’s many kinds of students.

In a recently published annual report for the 2010-11 academic year, Interim Provost Lorrie Clemo wrote: “Another high priority for Academic Affairs is increasing the variety and formats of courses and programs delivered through distance-learning and blended approaches so that students can be offered greater choice with respect to attending courses in person, online or both. This important strategy continues to keep Oswego attractive to new markets of students interested in highly flexible class delivery options. More than 23 new courses were developed this year in hybrid and online format.”

Strong summer

The popularity of online coursework held true, as well, in the summer sessions concluded Aug. 12 at SUNY Oswego. Through the first three of four sessions, the top 38 courses in terms of registration were distance-learning offerings. Of the top 100 courses in terms of registration, 71 to that point were online.

“That surprised me,” Ingram said. “I certainly was aware that online summer courses tend to fare better than our face-to-face courses, but I had no idea of the magnitude of the difference until … I did some calculations.”

From the comforts of home or on the road, summer students took courses in Japanese art, broadcast newswriting, environmental science, curriculum development, cyber law, analysis of psychological data and at least 100 more.

Ingram pointed to key benefits of registering for an online course during the summer: “Students can go home during the summer and ‘do their thing’ plus still take courses, and they can work on these courses when they want to and where there want to (within limits, of course) because of the asynchronous nature of our online courses.”

This fall, students can take online courses in crisis communication, money and banking, drug use and abuse in society, fundamentals of gerontology, public sector accounting, chemistry and public concern, educational psychology, Western theatre and many more.

Face-to-face classes are alive and well—some 1,380 course sections are scheduled—as is the residential campus. SUNY Oswego Residence Life and Housing reported more than 4,400 students have applied to live on campus this semester, including approximately 1,400 freshmen, 500 transfers and 2,500 returning students.

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(Posted: Aug 15, 2011)

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