The summer semester will be divided into two 7-week terms. Students will be able to choose from a pool of general education classes that will be taught by traditional faculty.
Some courses will fill both terms, while others will fill one. The cost of classes will be $325 per credit hour, or $975 for a 3-credit hour course.
Randy Gunden, the executive director of online programs at Goshen College, is one person who has helped coordinate the set-up of the online courses.
“To date, Goshen College has never had online courses,” said Gunden. “In the administration’s most recent strategic plan, a decision was made to explore alternative delivery of classes. In order to take advantage of revolutions in communication, the administration asked faculty if they would be committed to explore new options.”
Many of the faculty were indeed ready. Of the seven courses offered, all are taught by GC professors. In most cases, they are the same courses offered during the year; the only difference will be the format of delivery.
“These classes will provide flexibility for students,” said Gunden. “They will have to finish the course but it is not restricted by class meeting times. The option fits students’ summer schedules because it will focus on one class at a time.”
Students will be able to work at their own pace during the seven or 14-week period, though a schedule will be suggested. Moodle will be the main platform for each class. Assignments will be listed there, much like a regular class, as well as work submission, discussion threads and student-teacher communication. Professors will also use email, video conferencing and even Skype to communicate with students.
“We want to better serve students,” said Gunden. “It is not always easy to finish a degree in four years, and these general education-type courses will help students complete their degrees in ample time. You will miss face-to-face communication but everything else will be much the same.”
Gunden added, “Students in college are preparing for a career, but you will always be a college student, so to speak. What you will not always have is the opportunity to engage in a classroom. This is one more way to foster online learning.”
By Kate Stoltzfus