Nau Degrees Available On Web

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Remember the old sing-song summertime phrase "No more homework, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks"?

Well, just like many things, it's been antiquated by technology.

Area college students who have completed their two years at Eastern Arizona College can earn four-year Northern Arizona University degrees in dozens of subjects, and even shoot for their masters, on the Internet.

In other words, they still have homework and they still have books. But no more teachers' dirty looks.

The three-year-old statewide program, which has grown steadily in both class variety and the number of students who use it, gets its local sponsorship from EAC and NAU-Payson. In the fall, some 90 classes were offered online; this summer, 70 classes are available.

The greatest benefit of the Web-based courses, says Pat Wright who not only takes the classes, but teaches others how to take them on behalf of NAU is that they "allow students who can't make it to a classroom because of time restraints to take the classes they need to obtain their degree.

"I know of one student who works all the time and has a really chopped-up, rotating schedule where he rarely knows when he'll get time off," Wright says. "But with these Web classes, he can work on his assignments whenever he has time off."

Another major plus, Wright adds, is that area teachers can perform their graduate work or earn their masters degree during the summer without having to sit in a classroom.

"They can work on their classes whenever they want, from wherever they are in the world, as long as they can connect to the Internet," he says.

Indeed, NAU has worldwide Web courses in which students have enrolled from as far away as Fiji and South Africa.

The classes vary in content from humanities and psychology to registered nursing and bachelors of science nursing programs.

"If there's someone out there who has a (registered nursing) degree," Wright explains, "they can work up to their (bachelors of science nursing) right on the Web."

The Web classes are not easier than traditional ones, says Gail Cotton, an EAC clerk and student who's taking full advantage of the program. "In fact, they may be more demanding because everyone has to respond to everything. But the fact that you get to interact with people all over the world makes it fun."

Computer knowledge is not a prerequisite, she says. "Even if you've never touched a computer's power button, Pat Wright will get you online, get you set up, and teach you how to do it."

For Cotton, a primary benefit is that she can now work her continuing education into her hectic work and home schedule at her own convenience.

"There were three nights in a row when I was working from 11 at night to 3 in the morning," she says. "I admit, my assignments might not have been quite as lucid as they might have been if I had done them between 3 and 6 p.m. But it's great that I can submit them at any time prior to my instructor's deadlines."

Those instructors, by the way, are actual NAU Ph.Ds, who are always available to answer questions or offer help through email or teleconferencing within 24 hours following a student's request.

The program also boasts financial appeal.

"Phoenix College's online program costs $300," Cotton says. "In my opinion, NAU is a more accredited institution to start with ... and their online fee is only $119 a semester."

At the moment, it's difficult if not impossible to complete an entire degree plan on the Web, Cotton says. "To do that, students need to use a mixed variety of media some live site classes here at EAC and ITV (Instructional Television) along with the Web-based classes."

However, the program is a boon for those who want to "attend" NAU without leaving town or even the comfort of their own homes to gain entry into upper-division classes or obtain four-year or masters degrees.

Once a student has registered to use the program through NAU and has decided which Web-based courses he wants to take, Wright says, he can "enter" the class online, pull up his syllabus, print it out, and if need be, email his instructor with questions regarding the posted assignments.

For further information about the EAC/NAU Web classes, contact Pat Wright at 474-5147, or visit the Internet site http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~otle/camp/class for an online introduction.

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