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Austin Peay to offer courses for online TBR degree, E-Army U program

9/23/2000
September 24, 2000

The Tennessee Board of Regents, working with APSU and other member schools, is taking the first steps to offer a degree that can be earned totally online. The TBR wants to have the program up and running by Fall 2001.

"The idea is that the degree would come from TBR institutions," says Dr. Stan Groppel, executive director of APSU's Office of Extended Education. "Students could earn residency credit at any TBR school participating in the program and apply it to the TBR degree."

As an added bonus under the plan, the University would get to count students who enter the program through Austin Peay in its enrollment numbers.

Groppel--working with Tom Mosely, APSU's coordinator of distance education and off-campus programs, and Dr. Linda Rudolph, interim vice president for academic affairs—is putting together a budget. He wants to offer 10 APSU courses in the TBR degree program.

Here's how Groppel envisions the program working. Say a soldier at Fort Campbell wants to get a TBR degree and has as many as 90 credit hours from other institutions. He or she would have to earn approximately 30 hours, or one-fourth of the needed hours, at a TBR institution, which could be earned via the Web.

"And, of course, the thought also is that a student could earn all 120 hours for a TBR degree on the Web," Groppel says.

Another example: A former APSU student now residing in England has inquired about earning a degree through the Web. Under the TBR proposal, she could earn a TBR degree "while she's wandering all over this green earth,"Groppel says.

In addition to the TBR proposal, Groppel is working with the U.S. Army as it moves to offering courses using the Web. "

The Army's latest initiative is E-Army U," he said, "and they want to be on-line by this coming January."

Groppel recently attended an Army program providing information for those interested in providing classes through the Army's program.

The Army has a vision that one organization, made up of a consortium of schools and universities, could offer courses to all Army personnel anywhere in the world by using the Web. For transcripts, fee payments and other procedures, the soldier would deal with only one organization, even though several universities could be involved.

"The Army would give each student a laptop computer," said Groppel. "The student can then get online and have an account with an organization and be able to apply, register and take classes online. They could be in their billet overseas, yet continue their education."

The Army will begin the program next January by picking two or three Army posts and then moving from there.

It's a new world with fast-changing technology. APSU is working to be in the forefront.