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Online enrollment up more than 6,000 percent

August 13, 2003

Through a joint initiative of faculty and administrators, Austin Peay has expanded the number of online courses offeredresulting in a whopping 6,900 percent increase in online enrollments in three years.
August 13, 2003

Through a joint initiative of faculty and administrators, Austin Peay has expanded the number of online courses offeredresulting in a whopping 6,900 percent increase in online enrollments in three years.

According to Dr. Mike Gotcher, chair of the department of communication and theatre who also chairs APSU's Online Standing Committee, when Dr. Sherry Hoppe assumed the APSU presidency in February 2000, APSU was offering no online classes. Hoppe asked for faculty “pioneers” willing to develop and teach an online course. In Fall 2000, 38 students were registered for online courses.

Five semesters later, APSU posted 2,662 enrollments in its online coursesan amazing 6,900 percent increase.

“Without doubt, Web-based courses have saved some programs at Austin Peay,” Gotcher said, referring to the mandate by the Tennessee Board of Regents to assess the need for any “low-producing program” within TBR universities as a way to cut costs.

Only four students were enrolled in the new master's degree program in corporate communication when Gotcher and a former colleague decided to develop it as an online-degree program.

According to Gotcher, the program grew from four students in Fall 2000 to 180 students now. The master's degree in corporate communication is one of several degrees that can be earned totally online through APSU. Other online programs are a bachelor's degree in professional studies and an associate's degree in management technology with concentrations in police science and administration.

During an administrative workshop Aug. 1, Gotcher outlined growth objectives established by the Online Standing Committee, which include a 20 percent increase in online courses on the main campus, 10 percent growth in online courses through the APSU Center@ Fort Campbell and the addition of one new online program a year for the next five years.

By Fall 2004 APSU officials plan to offer the following online programs: computer science; communication and theatre; and health and human performance. Other baccalaureate programs containing courses considered viable as online offerings are computer science and nursing.

For more information about APSU online courses, contact Dr. Stan Groppel, dean of extended and distance education, at 7816.