The future of higher education is shifting as technological developments provide students the flexibility and convenience of online education. Columbus State University (CSU) is taking full advantage of these developments and offers a new, fully online program, Degree in 3 (DN3) that began in fall 2013.
The DN3 program gives students the opportunity to complete an online degree in three years, instead of four. Students will progress at their pace and any remedial work is combined into regular classes. Students complete two courses and a competency-based course during seven-week sessions, instead of the current five to six course per semester curriculum.
“The DN3 program we have created provides a real opportunity for students to acquire their degree in three years at a much lower cost but incorporating all the rigor and standards in a traditional face-to-face setting or online program,” said Ramesh Rao, chair of the CSU DN3 Program.
Another great benefit to the DN3 program is students will complete three achievements through the program duration. After successfully completing the first year set of courses, students in both the Communication and the Criminal Justice programs will receive a Certificate in Communication; after successfully completing the second year set of courses students earn an associate degree, either in communication or criminal justice; and upon successful completion of three years of coursework students earn either a B.A. in Communication (with a focus on Civic Leadership) or a B.S. in Criminal Justice.
When the program launches in October, students will have the option to earn a bachelor’s degree in Communication or Criminal Justice. The Communication degree, with a focus on Civic Leadership, will enable students to pursue careers in public relations, governmental or non-governmental work, or in community and organizational leadership. Criminal Justice was picked because it is the most popular major at CSU but an online program was not offered before, according to Rao.
According to Richard Baxter, dean of the CSU College of the Arts, the DN3 Program, which is separate from CSU’s Department of Communication, is funded by the Next Generation Learning Challenge Grant which enables CSU to hire faculty and staff, and provide support for course development, training and recruitment.
“The DN3 program offers CSU the opportunity to be a leader in offering online degrees and in a format that is designed to be more efficient, faster and less expensive,” said Rao.
Rao said he ultimately believes it is important to provide affordable higher education opportunities to students who either cannot afford to attend an expensive four-year school or students who need flexibility. Students in the DN3 program will pay $6,000 per year plus cost of books, compared to the average $8,300 plus cost of books for CSU’s traditional online programs.