Online Program Launches New Website for Ease of Navigation
JONESBORO – Arkansas State University’s online program launches a new website home page designed to make access to one of the state’s oldest and largest online degree programs easier to navigate.
“We wanted to provide a portal that was more responsive for our busy online students,” Executive Director of Global Initiatives Thilla Sivakumaran said.
The new home page – AState.edu/Online – allows prospective students to get questions answered about Arkansas State’s degrees that are offered 100 percent online. It also has links to outlines of the available degree programs.
Starting with courses offered in 2008, Arkansas State University’s online program is one of the oldest in the state. From the first degree – a master of science in educational theory and practice – Arkansas State’s program has grown to 21 total online programs and hundreds of individual courses.
In the years since, thousands have completed their educational goals thanks to A-State’s growing online program. Overall, Arkansas State offers undergraduate and graduate online degree programs, plus specialist education degree tracks, across a wide range of study areas all available to Arkansas residents today.
“Cost is a factor for many students, and it isn’t just the cost per credit hour,” Arkansas State Provost Lynita Cooksey said. “Studying at home saves money. By not traveling to Jonesboro or elsewhere, students save time. For some non-traditional students, family responsibilities might prevent them from completing their educational goals without the affordability and convenience of online.”
From just 108 graduates in 2009, A-State’s online program has grown to roughly 1,200 graduates per year across all the degree programs with 1,258 students finishing degrees online in 2014. Of the 2,699 students enrolled in online-only degrees during the past calendar year, many are overcoming place-bound limitations to earn their first university degree.
“Online assists the place-bound student or the full-time worker to move ahead with their educational goals where a traditional form of instruction or a traditional time of day just doesn’t fit,” Cooksey said. “Many people in the state of Arkansas may not be aware A-State provides this service to students who need it.”
Many are designed to assist particular segments of the market – education, health care or business – where Arkansas State has a long history of higher education service. Some are unique either to the state or the region, with the master’s degree in college student personnel services as a perfect example.
“That online program addresses a very specific market – individuals looking to work on a college or university campus in student auxiliary or support areas,” Cooksey said.
While education master’s programs remain among the larger online programs, the master of public administration degree in three years has grown to 178 students and is also ranked nationally. A pair of online services placed A-State in the top 25 in the country.
A-State was selected No. 1 in the nation by EducationResource.webs.com and on the Top 25 list of “Best Online MPA Accredited Degree Programs” in MPADegree.org in the summer of 2014.
Editors of both online publications have compiled lists of the top-quality MPA programs that contain a strong blend of quality instruction and full accreditation. EducationResource.webs.com places Arkansas State in the top spot, while editors of MPADegree.org have A-State ranked 19th.
In addition, A-State’s College of Business offers an online MBA that is ranked as one of the nation’s top 15 by U.S. News and World Report the past four years. The most recent rankings moved Arkansas State up to 12th in the country.
Faculty credentials and skills are a major part of A-State’s high ranking for the online MBA. Arkansas State was ranked first in the nation by U.S. News for faculty credentials and training for the past two years.
Currently, of just over 5,400 A-State online alumni, right at 2,700 are from Arkansas, followed (not surprisingly) by neighbor states of Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.
“A-State has been a place where residents of our state were able to achieve their academic goals, overcoming their place-bound challenges,” Cooksey said. “It has become a great value for the taxpayers of Arkansas to have Arkansas State provide this service to our residents. At the same time, just like our physical campus, we educate primarily students from the Mid-South region.”
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