Business and Ethics / Science, Technology and Health

Elevating Online Education

Written by Annie Beckmann

March 15, 2016

Trish Henley

Image credit: Chris Joseph Kalinko

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School of New and Continuing Studies launches two new BA programs

Students in the School of New and Continuing Studies (NCS) range in age from the early 20s to late 50s, definitely a new twist for Seattle U. 

Some seek mid-career changes. Others are increasing their skill set so they can reach full potential in their current careers. Still others had life circumstances that caused them to delay completing a bachelor's degree. Now they're working hard to make that dream a reality. 

In this Q&A, which will appear in an upcoming issue of SU Magazine, Trish Thomas Henley, associate dean of the School of New and Continuing Studies, offers a look at the efforts to reach more adult learners with degree-completion and certificate programs.

Q: Why are programs in Digital Cultures and Organizational Leadership the first to launch?  

Trish Henley: Seattle University conducted extensive research into the needs of both prospective students and employers. The Digital Cultures program is a liberal arts degree that focuses on what it means to be human in the digital age, while also providing students with key digital skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century workplace. Organizational Leadership gives adult learners the leadership skills needed to lead successful modern organizations. These were designed to broaden access to SU's transformative education while giving students the digital and leadership skills needed to succeed in today's dynamic workplace. 

Q: Within these two BA degree completion programs, are there further areas of specialization, much like majors?

Henley: Yes, both BA degree completion programs are developing certificates that complement the major. These certificates can be taken alone or as electives in the majors. The Web Development Certificate program already has graduates. 

Q: Part-time students will come to campus how often each week? Weekends, primarily?    

Henley: The School of New and Continuing Studies (NCS) is accepting part-time students for the spring and summer. Beginning in the fall, we will also accept full-time students. All programs at NCS are hybrid, meaning that the majority of class content is online with occasional face-to-face sessions on campus. Each hybrid class meets twice per month with face-to-face sessions in the evenings. Starting this summer, we also will offer some fully online courses. 

Q: Why is hybrid education so vital today? Has it eclipsed the popularity of strictly online learning?    

Henley: Hybrid and online education is really a social justice issue. Independent students, students who work full-time and are perhaps supporting children or caring for parents, do not always have lives that allow them to take classes on campus during traditional times of the day. Hybrid and online education…allows our students the flexibility to balance work and family life. Research shows that adult learners have higher success rates with hybrid programs, where course content is delivered online and there are occasional face-to-face meetings, than with either face-to-face or purely online programs.    

Q: What is successful hybrid learning/teaching?

Henley: The characteristics of successful hybrid teaching are the same as the characteristics of a successful face-to-face class. What's different are the tools and strategies that professors use to facilitate students learning. 

Q: What's the NCS top priority now?

Henley: Our top priority is now and always will be our students. We will be starting new programs, building relationships in the business community for internship placement, and continuing to refine our student support services.

Do you know someone interested in enrolling in NCS? Encourage them to visit the NCS website to learn more.

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