Interview: E.J Anderson, Rio Salado College Online

E.J. Anderson of Rio Salado College College Online joins us to discuss their distance learning degree programs.

Tell us about the distance learning programs offered at Rio Salado College.

Students at Rio Salado College have a variety of degrees and certificates to choose from. They can take their general education requirements, earn an occupational certificate or enroll in one of Rio Salado's more than 450 online courses. Degrees offered at Rio Salado include an associate in arts, associate in arts in elementary education, associate in science, associate in business, associate in general studies, associate in applied science. The college also offers a post-baccalaureate in teacher preparation.

What is the typical duration of each of your programs?

Rio Salado's programs vary in length depending on the degree or certificate. Many of Rio Salado's courses can be accelerated with the approval of the instructor allowing students to set their schedule as to when they will finish. Dental hygiene is an accelerated 15-month program; nursing students go year-round to finish in four semesters. Individual classes run 14 weeks but may be accelerated to six weeks.

What would you say makes Rio Salado College programs different and better than other comparable online programs?

Rio Salado is one of the pioneer's in online learning which gives them more than a decade of experience creating interactive course material with 24/7 technical and instructional support. As one of the premier online learning colleges in the nation, Rio Salado's innovative, and cutting-edge online course management, support and delivery system was developed specifically for Rio Salado through a three-way partnership with the Microsoft Corporation and Dell Computers. Classes start every two weeks and tuition is $65 a credit. The college is full-accredited and most classes are university transferable. Rio Salado also partners with a variety of institutions allowing student to earn their bachelors degree.

How important would you say accreditation is when choosing an online college?

Accreditation is critical when choosing a college. Accreditation sets standards and provides a means for self-improvement. Many colleges use accreditation status as a means of determining whether credits will transfer. Rio Salado has earned the maximum 10 years accredition by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

There is some debate as to whether or not online degrees are as worthwhile as traditional degrees. What steps does Rio Salado College take to ensure that online students are receiving the same education that they'd receive in a classroom?

Rio Salado online curriculum is the same as that delivered in the classroom. Students are also subject to the same tests and must pass the same state licensure for specific programs.

What would you say are some of the benefits of earning a degree online rather than in a traditional classroom?

Rio Salado targets working adults with jobs and families that make it difficult to attend college on a traditional campus. Online students can complete their course work when and where they want. Rio Salado's tuition cost is less than a third of what most public universities charge.

If a student enrolled in one of your programs was interested in finding an internship in their field in their area, do you have any means of assisting them in acquiring an internship position?

Several of Rio Salado programs have internships. In Rio Salado's post baccalaureate teacher preparation program students do their student teaching. Rio Salado's nursing, dental hygiene and dental assisting programs have a clinical component.

Is financial aid available to students in your programs?

A variety of grants, loans, student employment and scholarship funds are available for students including federal, state and or private sources.

Do you have any advice for students enrolling in online classes for the first time?

Students who are enrolling in online courses for the first time must realize they are the ones in charge and although they can complete their course work anytime anyplace, staying focused is important. Self-discipline in a critical factor in the success of online students.

For more information on distance learning programs available at Rio Salado College Online, go here to visit them online.

Thank you E.J, for sharing and participating in this piece for Online Degrees 2.0

That concludes our interview!

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