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Online enrollment expected to hit 1,500 this spring

2/4/2002
February 4, 2002

Online education, begun with only a handful of classes two years ago, has grown into one of Austin Peay's most sought-after programs.

Topping the "most wanted" lists of students like Meredith Dunn, a graduate student in corporate communication, Web classes have increased in popularity because of their flexibility.

"During a typical online class session, you will find me doing research and answering assigned questions at home in my pj's with a cup of tea next to me," said Dunn. "This is after working all day as a graduate assistant, going to classes on campus and, of course, dinner. Flexibility is the major draw of an online class - it lets me earn the credits I need while keeping my schedule."

Dunn's experience as a working student is similar to many in the online campus community.

Responding to their needs, the APSU Center for Extended and Distance Education, which oversees the University's online program, has boosted its offerings - and its enrollment - substantially.

Currently, the center offers nearly 70 course sections in everything from business to history to geology. This includes courses taken for associate, bachelor's and master's degrees through Austin Peay's main campus and Fort Campbell curricula. It also includes courses in the Regents Online Degree Program (RODP), which allows students to earn degrees entirely online.

Enrollment figures, which have not yet been released, are expected to reach 1,500 this spring, according to Dr. Stan Groppel, the center's executive director.

These numbers are up from three courses and 38 enrollments when the APSU program started in Fall 2000. Since then, it has leaped from six courses and 136 enrollments in Spring 2001 and 35 course sections and 742 enrollments in Fall 2001.

"This tremendous climb shows what can be achieved by an excited and progressive administration and faculty," said Groppel. "None of this would have happened without their support and cooperation. Even Dr. Bruce Speck, our vice president for academic affairs, is teaching online."

Complete information about APSU's online programs is available at http://www.apsu.edu/online/online.htm. For more information, telephone 7913.