More online classes offered

Florida A&M University will launch approximately 30 online classes in various departments for students in the spring 2009 semester.

FAMU has offered online class services in the past but it was very limited.

Joe Roache, assistant vice president of instructional technology, explained offering online classes is a long process but a few are ready to start in the spring.

“We’ve been working toward getting courses for online delivery at FAMU for the last couple of years,” Roache said.

Before a course can be placed online, many steps need to be followed in order to achieve the standards of a regular class.

“Part of the issue with having faculty deliver courses online is they also have to have the skills and the training to do courses,” Roache said. “We have to have some background on how to use it. Material also has to be added to Blackboard.”

Roache explained that FAMU has had a learning management system for the last seven years. He said FAMU professors use Blackboard as an online service to further communicate with students but an entire class online has not been offered this semester.

“We decided…to make sure all the process and procedures that we use are correct,” he said.

He said the classes offered online will be in various departments like physics, graphic communication, accounting, allied health, and education.

“Many of them are education and psychology courses,” Roache said. “This is basically our beginning to make sure we have our process down correctly for faculty.”

This month’s edition of Diverse magazine saidthere has been a 69 percent growth in online black graduates since 2005-2006.

“By next fall we hope to have a pretty good range of online courses,” Roache said.

Although FAMU has noticed the increase of black graduates in online universities, Roache said FAMU would not rush their courses online to increase their graduate rate.

“The worst thing would be for us to have classes online that are not good classes and students don’t get the same kind of information that they get in a regular face to face class,” Roache said. “Our concern is making sure we not only put up online classes but we put up classes that are quality.”

FAMU student Kyon Hollis, 21, is positive about FAMU adding online courses.

“Online classes are convenient for those who have full-time jobs,” said Hollins, a junior graphic design student from Atlanta. “I work and I go to school. It’s hard for me sometimes to get up at 9 a.m. on Saturday for my class if I just worked until 3 a.m. on Friday.”

FAMU student Kris Bugsby, 23, a senior fine arts student from Atlanta, prefers class meeting rather than an online course.

“Even though I’m a full-time student and I work as well, I rather get the information from the teacher,” Bugsby said.

Roache said that online classes allow flexibility for anyone’s schedule.

“It gives you the ability to have your materials there all the time so you can study it over and over,” he said.