With the ever-evolving world of technology, the way students learn on college campuses has changed a lot over the years. NKU is actively working to improve and add to the ways students can learn with plans to become the first university in the state to allow students to obtain full online degrees, starting with the history department.
The plan, which led to a fully online degree option being set up, has been a work in progress for three years, according to William Landon, interim chair of the history department, associate professor of history and director of the medieval and renaissance studies program. The time has been used to design and set up the classes students will soon be able to start taking for almost over 300 degree options in the history department to choose from as soon as fall of 2014, according to Landon.
“It was really a lengthy departmental discussion,” Landon said. “We realized that there’s a lot of students we’re not reaching because there are so many post-traditional students now. These students may be older than the traditional students who come to campus or they may have a family life or work life that prohibits them from coming to meet us on campus.”
As the time becomes closer to when the online classes will be available, Landon has confidence that this will put NKU at “the cutting edge of online programming.”
“Being the first program in the state, tri-state and one of the first few in the entire country. We thought, time to seize the opportunity,” Landon said.
Though having fully-online degrees will be new, having online classes is something NKU offers many of its students. It is an option that has its perks, according to Serra Adams, junior art therapy major, who is currently in two online classes.
“They are a lot more convenient,” Adams said. “I feel like I’m able to work more and at my own pace.”
While the online classes do have a little different feel to them from being completely digital, the history department plans to make it as close to being in the classroom as possible with opportunities such as live video conferencing between students and their professors. Opportunities like these have already brought students in from all over the country and the world, according to Landon.
“Now we’re finding people who are posted in Italy, we have had students posted in Afghanistan, military students who have been taking courses with us. So, we find this to be really interesting. Our reach can be global by doing it this way,” Landon said.
Not only does it bring a new exciting experience to those around the country and world, the impact can be felt here on campus as well. With so much emphasis being put on the history department here on campus, it encourages students within these majors currently, like Jacob Edwards, freshman history and social studies major, to perform better.
“I feel like going digital is good for the department,” Edwards said. “While yes, you will lose some of the feel of a classroom…it will still be the same information. History is all about storytelling, and unless there is something that changes the way to do that, going online will work well.”