By Gabi Bourn | Contributing writer
The school added satellite classes for the summer semester to expand the school and accommodate students. Students of the program attend five classes on campus and participate in two online classes, or they could attend all of the program’s classes on campus.
Last summer’s successful pilot program led to the inclusion of the distance-learning program in two courses this fall in addition to on-campus courses. Currently, MBA students who already have their Bachelor of Business Administration do not have the option of taking a satellite class.
Dr. Melissa Wiseman, associate professor in economics, said there will likely never be a distance-learning component for the core classes of the MBA, since group work is crucial in those courses. She added that one day there might be a master’s program consisting entirely of distance learning courses.
Classes currently being offered through the distance-learning program include leveling classes for non-business students who are seeking an MBA. Although only two classes are currently offered, the department plans to offer four leveling courses next year.
Dr. Cynthia Simpson, dean of the School of Education, also works with the online education committee and considers this program valuable because of the utilization of distance learning technologies.
“A recent surge in innovative technological advances allows educators to break down the barriers that often prevent individuals from furthering their education,” she said.
The satellite program utilizes Blackboard Collaborate, an online classroom tool that promotes interaction between students and professors in a virtual setting.
It has features such as a virtual hand raise to allow real time interaction. Collaborate also records classes, so students can review lessons at a different time if necessary.
Wiseman said she sees the satellite program becoming commonplace in the world of education.
“We really have to get into it in some way because this is the way of the future,” Wiseman said. “Anybody who has to be out of town could come back and just watch it recorded, and they won’t miss any of the information.”
Monica Niles, an MBA student, said she enjoys the University’s small classes and the challenges that prepare her for her future career.
“Since most students work full-time, the professors are very accommodating to our hectic schedules,” Niles said.