Interview: Jackie Crouch, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

Jackie Crouch, RN, BSN & Technology Coordinator/Online Education at Beth-El College of Nursing & Health Science at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs joins us today to discuss distance education.

Tell us about the distance learning programs offered at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Several of the colleges on the UCCS campus offer distance (online) learning programs.

These include:

College of Business

  • Distance Master's in Business Administration

Beth-El College of Nursing & Health Sciences :

  • Individual Allied Health Certificates offered in cooperation with Gatlin Eduction
  • RN-Refresher Course (for licensed RN's who have been inactive)
  • RN-Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Master's of Science in Nursing (Nurse Practitioner or Clinical Nurse Specialist)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (a clinical based doctorate)

College of Education

  • Early Literacy Program
  • Principal Licensure & MA Program
  • English as a Second Language Program
  • Educational Technology Certificate
  • Gifted & Talented Certificate Program
  • Master's in Curriculum & Instruction
  • Special Education Additional Endorsement Program

Center for Homeland Security

  • Certificate in Homeland Defense

What is the typical duration of each of your programs?

Programs range in length from 8 weeks to 16 weeks with the majority being 16 weeks long " the length of our typical on-campus semester.

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

Accreditation is extremely important when choosing an online college. Accreditation demonstrates that each program meets the rigorous standards established by the accrediting body.

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

Each online program offered at UCCS follows the exact same curriculum plan as the on-campus program. The delivery method is the only difference between on-campus and online. The content of each course offered online is the same as offered on-campus.

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

  • Convenience of anytime/anywhere education with the only time restrictions being the course start/end dates, assignment due dates and exam dates. Most exams offered in the online environment are available to students within a 1-week time frame per exam
  • Opportunity to interact with professors and classmates from a variety of backgrounds and work environments who reside in other states and on some occasions, other countries
  • Opportunity to advance the individual students' educational level while working part-time or full-time
  • The ability to access educational programs that may not be offered on a local level

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?

This varies by college here at UCCS. Students are given guidelines and recommendations for securing internship positions close to where they reside or work. For example, in the College of Nursing, proctors must sign a contract with the student and college and agree to very specific guidelines related to student activities.

Does University of Colorado at Colorado Springs offer any job placement services to your students and graduates?

Job placement services are available to students and graduates of UCCS through our Student Success Office

Is financial aid available to students in your programs?

Financial Aid including several kinds of grants and scholarships are available to students in our programs

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

  • The online environment is not for everyone. Online students must be comfortable with the use of a computer and preferably have a broadband connection to take advantage of streaming videos and podcasting.
  • Students should be realistic about the amount of time involved in an online course. Online courses are convenient, but they require at least as much time and work as an on-campus course. Sometimes the online interaction/discussion requires MORE time than an on-campus course.
  • Students must be self-starters who are comfortable working in a sometimes faceless environment.
  • Students should allow the time necessary to participate in online asynchronous discussions with classmates and professors
  • Students should be prepared to work as a part of an online group or as an individual dependent on the requirements of any given course.

What do you enjoy most about your position at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs?

What I enjoy most about my position at UCCS is spreading the word about Online Education and being a part of the constant improvement and expansion of campus-wide online course and program offerings. We constantly re-evaluate how we are presenting materials and always looking to improve our offerings.

To Request more information about the distance learning programs available through University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Go here to visit them online.

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

That concludes our interview!

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