Challenges in Higher Ed 2017 - Education Through Online Delivery

Challenges in Higher Ed 2017 – Education Through Online Delivery

Anthony Schumacher

Anthony Schumacher

Thomas More College accelerated adult and professional programs (TAP) is expanding to include additional online offerings. Currently, the college offers online degrees for the Master of Business Administration (MBA), the Bachelor of Arts in Ethical Leadership, and Master of Arts in Ethical Leadership. Plans for future online degrees include RN (Registered Nurse) to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing), Bachelor of Business Administration, and Associate in Management.

TAP, created in 1993, has consistently produced successful alumni since its inception. The college’s undergraduate adult program combines major-focused coursework with the liberal arts core curriculum. Graduates are not only prepared to succeed in their chosen fields, but also further develop the critical thinking and analytical skills provided by their majors and the liberal arts. By adding additional online degrees to TAP, more students will be able to experience the outstanding faculty that teach at the College.

The TAP program plans to increase online offerings for adult learners.

The TAP program plans to increase online offerings for adult students.

A perception exists that online courses do not provide the same quality experience as the face-to-face classroom. Online courses and the concept of quality do not have to be mutually exclusive ideas. Some hear the word “online” and immediately conjure the negative images often associated with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The College does not engage in MOOCs, but provides the same faculty/student ratio online as established in on-ground programs. The goal remains the same—a quality, values-based education. Online classes can possess the same level of quality as face-to-face or on-ground classes through a different medium. Thomas More College has made the commitment to its faculty and students to provide the necessary innovation and continuous training in the creation and facilitation of online courses.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, exclusive “distance education” enrollment grew more rapidly among private nonprofit institutions than any other sector from 2012-2014. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that 5.7 million students were enrolled in “distance education” courses in 2014. Thomas More College has seen growth in its online MBA program, which provides students who may not be able to attend classes on campus the ability to experience the outstanding TMC faculty in an online setting.

Online degrees provide adult students with the convenience and flexibility needed to help them achieve their educational goals. Each TAP student has multiple roles; they are employees or employers, parents, spouses, and sometimes caregivers for family members battling illness. They are active in their communities and churches. They are busy people. We provide them with an education that meets their scheduling needs and does not make them rearrange their family and work lives in order to come to campus. In my time at the College, many single parents have expressed angst over finding a babysitter so they can come to classes. If they cannot come to TMC, we will bring TMC to them. Scheduling conflicts will not prevent someone from earning a degree from Thomas More College.

As the Catholic College of the Diocese of Covington, it is exciting to visualize the expansion of Thomas More College and its nonprofit, faith-based education to students who need or want online education, as well as those areas that may be underserved due to their geographic proximity from colleges or universities. We live in a technology-driven, digital age. Thomas More College will continue to provide the same quality education as we move further into the online environment.

To learn more about TAP and the degree programs offered, click here.