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Interview: Donald K. Zahn, Associate Dean, University of Wisconsin - Whitewater

Donald K. Zahn, Associate Dean at University of Wisconsin - Whitewater, joins us today to discuss distance education.

Tell us about the distance learning programs offered at University of Wisconsin - Whitewater.

In 1998, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater became the first AACSB accredited school to offer a fully asynchronous online MBA program. Over the years, the technology and methodology has continued to evolve. At present you can earn an MBA entirely online with an emphasis in Marketing, Finance, Human Resource Management, International Business, Management, Operations & Supply Chain Management, IT Management or Technology and Training. Students can choose to combine traditional classes with online classes to complete their MBA

What is the typical duration of each of your programs?

Full-time students (9+ credits in a term) can complete the program in two years. Part-time students (less than 9 credits in a term) can complete the program in three to four years. Students have up to seven years to complete all requirements. Approximately 12 " 15 online courses are offered each semester.

What would you say makes University of Wisconsin - Whitewater programs different and better than other comparable online programs?

I believe the flexibility of taking all online classes or mixing online and on ground classes helps to differentiate our program. In addition, offering a choice of eight emphases further differentiates the Whitewater MBA.

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

AACSB International accreditation is an important consideration when selecting an MBA program. AACSB is the premier accrediting body for collegiate schools of business. Business programs that are AACSB accredited have met the highest standards of excellence.

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

Online classes include class discussion, group projects, and will use the same assurance of learning measures as on ground classes. Faculty who teach online and on ground classes regularly report that the work of students in online classes is better than that produced by students in on ground classes.

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

In today's competitive business world, many executives believe an advanced degree is a requirement for promotion to upper management. Conflicting work and family schedules often leave little time for a structured degree program. Online learning is proving to be a viable option for many busy executives providing unrestricted time and geographic access to learning materials. Students can focus on course work when their schedule permits and from their location of choice.

The lack of a geographic limitation often produces a more diverse learning community than in traditional classes. This creates a rich learning environment developed from worldwide participant's shared experiences in the online curriculum.

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?

Since 80 " 85 percent of our MBA students are working full time and working on their degree part time, they are not interested in internships. Some of the full time students are international students who will look for work experience opportunities as part of their year of Optional Practical Training. Faculty teaching in the emphasis area as well as the career services office shares information on internships that become available.

Does University of Wisconsin - Whitewater offer any job placement services to your students and graduates?

Career Services provides placements services to graduate students. Students may publish an electronic copy of their resume with Career Services that firms looking for prospective employees may access. Students may also attend the Career Fairs held on campus each year.

Is financial aid available to students in your programs?

Graduate students using online or on campus classes may apply for financial aid. Generally their aid will be in the form of guaranteed student loans.

To Request more information about the online MBA program available at University of Wisconsin - Whitewater, Go here to visit them online.

Thank you Donald, for sharing and participating in this piece for Online Degrees 2.0

That concludes our interview!

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