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Western Oklahoma State College officials plan to reinstate 10-day online courses

by Silas Allen Published: February 3, 2013

Just days after announcing plans to discontinue them, Western Oklahoma State College officials said they plan to resume offering a type of controversial online course reportedly favored by college athletes looking for quick credits.

College officials announced Wednesday they had stopped offering 10-day online intersession courses after the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education released a report recommending the college immediately discontinue the courses.

Judith Norton, a spokeswoman for the college, said college officials hope to reinstate the courses — albeit with major changes — by the end of the summer term.

Higher education officials have said it would be difficult, but not impossible, for a college to create a credible course using the 10-day online format.

But in an email Friday, college President Phil Birdine said he didn't expect the format of the courses to change.

“Western, like so many other colleges and universities that offer such instructional formats, constantly seeks to meet student demand through the use of technology,” he said. “Philosophical debates on the issue of compressed course formats will likely continue, but students in today's global environment will continue to drive demand for this type of online instruction.”

Representatives from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the college's accrediting board, plan to visit the embattled school later this month to review the courses.

During a state regents meeting Wednesday, Blake Sonobe, the system's vice chancellor for academic affairs, said it would be difficult for a college to include the amount of engagement time a three-hour course generally requires.

Generally, when a student takes a three-credit course, that student is expected to be in class for about three hours a week and studying outside of class for about six hours a week. Over the course of the semester, he said, most schools expect about 150 hours of engagement, either in class or out of class, each semester for a three-credit-hour class, Sonobe said.

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by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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