Online Resource Center helps with new online offerings

The Online Resource Center (ORC) will aid professors in making the transition from face-to-face courses to online courses. (Photo provided by ORC)

By Baker Pitts

Online learning has been a frontier that colleges have been exploring since the dawn of the Internet.

Thanks to a two million dollar grant, SNU has the tools needed to expand its online learning to the next level with the creation of the Online Resource Center. The idea behind online courses is to make college accessible to those who would not normally be able to attend typical weekday classes or are too far away to travel to on-campus classes.

The Online Resource Center, or O.R.C, is a place for professors to get help in making the transition from face-to-face classes to online courses. The O.R.C offers weekly training sessions for faculty that will cover topics such as learning how to teach online, softwares to use in teaching online and specific strategies that are encouraged for use in online classes.

Jody Bowie, who is the instructional designer at the O.R.C, made sure it was known that they were in no way trying to move students from on-campus classes into online courses.

“We’re trying to develop classes that we have on campus into an online format so we can increase the number of students taking classes at SNU,” Bowie said.

The enrollment for the early stages of the online undergraduate program now being offered is encouraging. The first group of these new all-online Organizational Leadership students has already started and have filled up quickly, as have the second and third groups that are due to start soon. Organizational Leadership students now have the choice to do their studies online or face to face, and the enrollment for the face-to face hasn’t dropped at all, meaning that the new online capabilities of SNU have already brought in more students.

The possibilities for this new online component to SNU academics are  promising, and this grant program is just now at the end of year one out of five years. An additional goal of this new aspect to online learning is to make it possible for someone to get an associates degree completely online. At this point, 14 course have been developed this year to be offered online in addition to those developed and offered since 2007. So in the coming year, more courses will be tweaked and optimized for an online format to make it as quick and easy as possible to get a degree online.

The O.R.C in located on the third floor of the library. Any further questions regarding the O.R.C can be directed to Gwen Rodgers, Director of the ORC.

Corrections: 9/7/12 The contact person has been corrected from Jody Bowie to Gwen Rodgers. Language regarding the current offerings has been clarified. New picture was substituted