Genesee Set to Launch Six Academic Programs in Distance Education Format

Genesee Community College will soon offer six more academic programs in distance learning format, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Claudia Moore reported to the Board of Trustees this evening.

Currently, Genesee offers its General Studies degree program and Business Administration degree programs in distance format. The College recently received formal approval of distance education degree programs in Accounting A.A.S. and Economic Crime Investigation, as well as certificate programs in Accounting, General Education, and Entrepreneurship. As a result of the six current proposals, students will soon be able to pursue Teacher Education Transfer, Criminal Justice A.S., Criminal Justice A.A.S., and Humanities and Social Science degrees through online study and other distance education vehicles. Students also will be able to pursue two certificate programs - Criminal Justice and Teaching Assistant - in distance format.

Distance education allows students to complete course work outside of the traditional classroom using a variety of learning aids. These include videotapes, study guides, Web-based resources, and online discussion groups. Students registered in distance education courses stay in close contact with their instructors, usually through e-mail.

Last year, the New York State Education Department granted Genesee Community College "fast track" review status for distance education program proposals. This means that Genesee can expect full and speedy approval for distance education proposals based on existing academic programs - usually within 30 to 60 days. The State Education Department granted fast track status as the result of Genesee's experience and expertise in distance education.

When a program is offered in distance education format, the College makes it possible for students to complete more than half of their degree requirements through online or other distance study, Dr. Moore explained. "In practice, the number of distance courses a student pursues depends largely on the student's family and work commitments," she said. "At Genesee, students already have the ability to complete virtually all of their General Studies and Business degrees through distance format. But typically students mix and match - two distance courses and one evening classroom course during one semester, for example, and maybe the reverse the following semester. They might mix and match classroom locations as well: a course at the Batavia Campus and a course at the Warsaw Center one semester, and two courses at the Orleans Center the next semester, for instance. Since all of our distance courses are offered in traditional classroom format as well, we give students a lot of flexibility in putting together the academic schedules that work best for them."

Distance education courses offer the same course material as traditional classroom courses, Dr. Moore noted. "Same curricula, same textbooks, same professors," she said. The one difference is that distance learners are not tied to a classroom schedule and can complete all or most of their course work at home. "Distance education often makes higher education possible for students who simply could not attend traditional classes," Dr. Moore told the Board.

During the 2001-2002 year, Genesee had 2,054 registrations in distance learning courses. Since 1987, the College has had 13,474 registration in these courses. Once the six new programs are offered in distance learning format, Genesee will add even more distance courses. "Course registrations will continue to grow," Dr. Moore predicted.

Genesee Community College was an early leader in the distance education movement. Since the late 1980s, the College has offered distance courses - through video, television, and other means. Today, online courses are becoming increasingly popular. "We get visits and telephone calls from college leaders across the state and nation asking us how we do it," Dr. Moore said. "Although there's no simple answer to this question, much of our success is due to a pioneering faculty and to state-of-the-art technology. We're able to provide distance courses of very high quality, and the word gets out."

Genesee currently has students pursuing degrees in distance format across the state and beyond. Three citizens of Japan are currently registered in distance education courses and participating from their homes, Dr. Moore said.

In other business this evening, the Board of Trustees:

• Heard Trustees Melvin J. Wentland and Kenneth A. Dodd report on the recent Association of Community College Trustees legislative seminar held in Washington. The trustees noted that much attention was focused on higher education fiscal priorities at the federal level.

• Heard President Stuart Steiner report that enrollment for the Spring 2003 semester is substantially higher than enrollment for the Spring 2002 semester. As of March 7, enrollment stood at 4,846, up 10% from the 4,402 students enrolled exactly one year earlier. Enrollment of full-time students stood at 2,356, up 14.4% from Spring 2002, and enrollment of part-time students was 2,490, up 6.3% from Spring 2002 enrollments.

• Heard Vice President for Student Services George W. Walker report that applications from prospective full-time students for the Fall 2003 semester totaled 872 as of February 26, up 4% from the 839 applications received as of February 26, 2002. Applications from prospective international students totaled 51, up three from the 48 applications received a year earlier.

• Heard Director of Admissions Tanya Lane-Martin describe the communications program the Admissions Office uses to provide information to prospective students. Each step in the communications program is based on a unique decision made by the prospective applicant, according to Ms. Lane-Martin. For example, a prospective student who has made a tuition deposit receives registration information, while a prospective student who does not make a deposit receives a telephone call from a current student inviting the individual to make the deposit and get ready for classes.

• Recognized members of the Men's and Women's Basketball Teams on their outstanding season records, and approved a resolution of congratulations to members of the two teams on tr ccomplishments. The Men's Team hosted and won the District Championship game nst Beaver County Community College on Saturday, and will advance to the NJCAA Division II championship tournament in Illinois March 19.