CAS online degree programs provide crucial flexibility for students near and far
Tuesday, September 12, 2023
Media Contact: Elizabeth Gosney | CAS Marketing and Communications Manager | 405-744-7497 | email@example.com
Through the College of Arts and Sciences’ online degree options, students have the chance to earn their bachelor’s degree in computer science, sociology or psychology and a master’s degree in statistics from virtually anywhere — as long as there’s a Wi-Fi signal.
With online students making up roughly 18.5% of its undergraduate student population, the Department of Computer Science has made a concerted effort to offer opportunities to students in a wide variety of circumstances.
“We have students from all phases of life in our program,” said Cara Brun, academic advisor for the computer science program. “We have some students who are 18 years old and attending college for the first time. We have others who are established in the workforce and looking to add a skill set to advance their careers.”
Sage Woodard, a computer science senior, has been able to engage with faculty and participate in research despite not being on campus.
“Participating in research as an undergraduate student provided a wonderful experience,” Woodard said. “It has allowed me to advance in my career while still having time to take care of my family. I would encourage anyone interested in computers and willing to put in the work to pursue the program.”
Woodard’s distance learning efforts translated into an ideal work opportunity even before she graduates from the program.
“I received a job offer from a large technology company, and I started a remote position as a systems engineer with them this spring,” Woodard said. “Having the experience in OSU’s computer science program helped me secure a job offer.”
In the fall of 2021, students interested in sociology could begin pursuing their degrees online.
Laken Pruitt, the advisor for the sociology degree program, said the opportunity is not only a great remote learning option, but also provides students who study on campus with a safety net.
“While the program is fairly new, having the online option has been useful for several students,” Pruitt said. “The online degree allows students to have continuity in their degree and gives them the chance to keep working if they have to leave campus for some reason.”
As the program grows and develops, Pruitt has seen more students enrolling.
“The sociology degree is great because nothing happens outside of the context of society,” Pruitt said. “The program is sweeping in different opportunities to learn about society and more and more students are becoming interested in the opportunity.”
This fall, the faculty and staff of the online psychology program are implementing a new way to engage with distance learners.
“We are introducing a special section of our succeeding in psychology course, specifically for our online students,” said Meredith Beyl, academic advisor for the online psychology program. “This required course leads students to explore their options after completing the degree, with assignments designed to help them understand what career options are available at the bachelor’s level, explore graduate school options, perfect their resume and understand how to get involved in research and teaching assistantships in the department while completing their degree.”
Beyl emphasized that the best online courses are customized in similar ways, accommodating the unique situation of virtual classrooms.
“The section specific to online students allows us to tailor those assignments and conversations to their unique standing as remote learners, making their experience more personalized,” Beyl said.
For those who have obtained their bachelor’s degree, CAS currently offers one master’s level online degree through the Department of Statistics. The applied statistics program equips students with critical skills in data analytics.
Casie Wendland, a high school teacher in Monmouth County, New Jersey, graduated from the program in May.
“I began looking at programs to further my education and came across this one,” Wendland said. “In comparison to other statistics programs that I had researched, OSU offered courses in a timeline that I could reasonably balance with my everyday life, but still finish the degree in a timely manner.”
Despite being more than 1,000 miles away from campus, Wendland has found community at OSU.
“Going into the program, I was concerned that I would be isolated as an online student,” Wendland said. “However, the support and community that I have gotten to experience was quite the opposite. Any time I had a question, the professors were easy to communicate with. Many courses also posted videos of the class in progress while they taught. This allowed me to hear questions from other students and classroom discussions.”
Learn more about online degree options through the College of Arts and Sciences.
Story By: Erin Weaver | CONNECT magazine