By Hayley Pritzl
North Central University is working on growing its online curriculum. Future hopes for the university include adding several, fully online programs. With online classes available to students around the United States, the administration hopes to increase the university’s overall enrollment.
North Central has always been a residential university, but they are currently looking to build programs that don’t require students to be on campus. North Central is hoping to create two completely online degrees within the next two years. One of the programs that is projected to be fully online is the Digital Media major.
Professor of Digital Media Aaron McKain is working with his current classes to help him build a new online curriculum.
“Online classes can’t just be the watered down version of physical classes,” McKain said.
The current Digital Media and Communication Arts: Media students are working to put together a new format for the online classes. Podcasts and recordings of classes are being compiled to help design a new outline and increase understanding about how online courses can be taught. McKain is looking at how current events and media scandals can be best incorporated into classes that will be available online across the U.S.
Some people may be skeptical because of the challenges online courses and online degrees can present, but some professors see plenty of opportunities.
“It’s an amazing opportunity any time you can have students in different regions, different geographies, different towns talking to each other,” McKain said. “Not only giving each other different perspectives but also working together to show that as much as this country is divided, we’re kind of united in a lot of ways.”
As North Central is trying to grow its online presence, things are already changing for students. This semester, online classes were run in 8-week periods. The “A Session” classes are completed on March 1. Sophomore Business Administration major Alexandria Lindsay is currently enrolled in an online Film Appreciation class. Compared to the full semester online classes, Lindsay said she prefers the shorter sessions.
“If you can get done with that busy work sooner, then that’s just nicer to have that extra time. You don’t have to worry about… two credits or however many it is for the rest of the semester, but at the same time, it packs a lot into a small space, so that can be difficult if you are very busy,” said Lindsay.