Special to the MBJ
Beginning in August, the Mississippi College School of Business will begin offering its bachelor’s in business administration in a variety of formats, including online. The school joins other areas of the Clinton college that have already moved courses online.
“The expectations for all classes regardless of their format will be the same and provide our students with the quality business education over which we have built our strong reputation,” says Marcelo Eduardo, dean of the School of Business.
School of Business courses will be offered in the Accelerated Degree Program format, hybrid programs mixing in-class and online, and traditional lectures in Self Hall.
Nationwide, online classes conveniently fit the lifestyles of many college students and are seeing dramatic growth.
There were more than 6.7 million college students taking at least one online class in Fall 2011 or one-third of the enrollment, reports the Babson Survey Research Group in Massachusetts. That’s up by 560,000 students over 2010. The numbers have surged since 1.6 million college students enrolled in on-line classes in 2002.
“I am very excited about our online degree program development,” says MC Graduate School Dean Debbie Norris. “We are providing students exposure to the quality programs at Mississippi College from areas they may not have known about us otherwise.”
MC students are already receiving digital instruction in degrees such as nursing, communications, homeland security, teaching arts, health services administration, loss prevention and paralegal studies. Master’s programs in athletic administration and higher education are among the others.
MC Health Services Administration Director Melanie Fortenberry reports 56 students are enrolled in her programs this summer.
That includes 39 students in traditional classrooms, and 17 others taking on-line courses, including six from outside metro Jackson, she said. They live in Mississippi cities like Saltillo, Hattiesburg, Natchez and Oxford. The others are from Texas and Wisconsin. The Wisconsin student is a Baylor University graduate from Clinton doing his medical residency in the Dairy State.
Interaction between student and professor can be strong despite long distances. “I try to build a sense of community with on-line students and begin with a getting to know you exercise,” Fortenberry said. “They post photos and identify what their lives are like outside of class.”
Posting photos, she says, brings home the point that “we are interacting with people, not just typed messages.”
Fortenberry typically reads posts of her on-line students four days a week. She meets face to face with traditional students in lecture halls once a week.
During the Spring 2015 semester, Mississippi College will offer another new on-line graduate program. It will be a master’s in health informatics.
For additional information, contact School of Business Dean Marcelo Eduardo at 601-925-3420 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Graduate School Dean Debbie Norris at 601-925-3260 or email@example.com.