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Twelve categories offered for online learning

09/27/2010
By:

Pat Longobardi

Special to Southern News

Aside from getting an education the old fashioned way with a desk, a chair and a writing utensil, another unique way to learn in today’s society is through distance learning.

“What I like about teaching online courses is the flexibility it offers in terms of schedule,” said Jan Mason, a distance learning professor at Southern.

Distance learning is offered by many universities where students take courses online, and at their own convenience, as another way for students to take classes towards their respective degrees and graduation requirements.

“Like many of my students, I have young children,” said Mason. “It helps me a lot to be able to work from home.”

There are twelve different categories of classes to choose from for the fall 2010 semester at Southern. These subjects include: Business Administration, Information and Library Science, Management, Management Information Systems, Nursing, Political Science, Psychology, School Health, Social Work, Sociology and Theatre.

Mason, a theatre professor who teaches Introduction to Theatre for distance learning at Southern, said when she was setting up her courses, she was much advised to teach online courses by Stan Walonowski in the Teaching and Learning Technologies Department at Southern.

“He recommended that while the online environment offers flexibility, it was not a good idea to allow students to navigate the entire course at their own pace,” said Mason. “They need deadlines, he suggested.”

Distance learning also gives students an opportunity to be able to access information needed for these different and independent classes.

Coordinator for Distance Learning, Rebecca Hedreen, said although these classes sometimes might not be for everyone, they do indeed force students to make time for learning throughout their day.

“I like the opportunity to think about what’s being presented, discuss it a bit, and then think about that some more before coming back to the discussion,” said Hedreen.

According to Hedreen, who also has taken online courses, students who take online courses do sometimes contact her for help about research about distance learning or other library related items.

“Getting the most of your library resources online,” said Hedreen, “is much easier now than it was just a
few years ago. There are still plenty of resources that you need some kind of physical access to see.”

Ultimately, when students take these classes online, one thing they will need to learn is how to interact electronically.

Dr. Cynthia Disano, a sociology professor at Southern who teaches Introduction to Sociology in distance learning, said she would recommend students take online classes.

“However, students need to be fully versed in Blackboard Vista,” said Disano. “Students need to be self-directed and well disciplined in order to take these online courses.”

Blackboard Vista is another way for students to access academic news at Southern, among their professors and students in different classes taken throughout each semester.

According to Disano, being able to use the technology to contact her is very important in distance learning.

“My personal requirements,” said Disano, “are how to receive knowledge of how to navigate the online program, and it is for honest students who want to learn. If they need me they should be self directed to
contact me through the learning program.”

For more information on tips for distance learning, schedules and professors and tuition fees, type in the keywords “distance learning” on the Southern Connecticut State University official school website under the search box, or call 1-888-500-7278.

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