Officials also must submit a self-study before December 2014 showing that the college has resolved concerns the board raised about the courses.
The board will visit the college in spring 2015 to see whether those issues have been resolved. In the coming months, the board will review the college's other online and classroom-based courses.
The quick credit courses came under fire when a story published late last year in the Chronicle of Higher Education claimed the courses offer dubious college credit with minimal time and effort.
According to the report, major college athletics programs use the courses to keep their athletes eligible to play.
According to the article, Western Oklahoma State College's online offerings are well-known among major college athletics programs nationwide as a good option when players find themselves in an academic bind. The article raises questions about the quality of the courses and lack of academic oversight.
Birdine said the popularity of the courses comes from their convenience. He said short-format courses have existed for decades and have gained popularity at institutions nationwide more recently.
“We live in a mobile, time-conscious global society which is why these shortened courses are so popular and which is why many other colleges and universities in Oklahoma offer such courses,” Birdine said. “The demand is there, and the consumers are actively seeking out colleges which offer these courses.”
We live in a mobile, time-
conscious global society which is why ... many other colleges and universities in Oklahoma offer such courses.”