Along with technology, online courses have grown exponentially over the last five years here at Missouri Western. In the fall of 2008, only 30 online courses were offered; now there are 200 accredited courses.
A major reason that number has jumped so drastically at Western is because of Dean of Western Institute Dr. Gordon Mapley and other faculty members who have joined together to make it possible. Over 90 faculty members have been involved in training to teach online courses in their departments.
“More and more student’s schedules are difficult with work and school that online courses are very essential for them to get the degree they are after,” Mapley said. “Enrollment continues to climb because more students are finding it valuable and affordable for them.”
Mapley also believes Western’s online courses are cheap yet are of high quality, which benefit the students.
Kay Dickerson teaches English as a second language courses online, and she believes these classes are beneficial to people everywhere.
“It allows Missouri Western to draw students from all over the world and allows them to participate in programs that aren’t available at a lot of other institutes.”
As for the benefits of the community Mapley, has a plan.
“We have started a $1 million dollar grant to work with the local industry to help individuals get 4 year degrees that will be beneficial for growing business and the economy in the area,” Mapley said.
Greg Kriewitz, professor of physical education, teaches a PED 101 class to 145 students this semester, in the classroom and online. He can see why students like to take online classes.
“The reason online enrollment continues to grow is mainly because of convenience, gas being almost $4 a gallon, driving through a busy city and getting to campus just to fight to find a parking spot is stressful when you are getting the same education from your computer at home,” Kriewitz said. “As a professor of online courses, we put more time into them because we fear that the course will be more scrutinized so we make a huge effort to ensure that the material is the same online as it is in the classroom.”
Western alone has 249 students that are only online students this semester. Whether it be because they are working, live too far to commute back and forth or would just rather not deal with getting up and dealing with the stress of getting to class, it is very clear that online classes are on the rise.