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Western Oklahoma State College will stop offering quick-credit courses, officials announce

BY SILAS ALLEN Modified: January 30, 2013 at 8:32 pm •  Published: January 30, 2013

During Wednesday's meeting, Blake Sonobe, the system's vice chancellor for academic affairs, said it would be “extremely difficult” for a college to create a viable course using a 10-day online format.

About 150 hours

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.

In offering 10-day accelerated courses, the college was trying to increase its online audience, Sonobe said. In that regard, its actions weren't fundamentally different from what colleges nationwide are doing, he said. Higher education officials are only asking the college to stop offering a specific, narrowly defined type of course, he said.

According to the report, the college offered 256 course sections via 10-day online courses during the 2011-12 academic year. During the spring, summer and fall semesters, a combined total of 7,501 students enrolled in those courses. Sonobe said those students came from across the country.

Regent Stuart Price expressed concern about the courses at Wednesday's meeting. In particular, Price said he was concerned that the regents were only advised of the situation when it came to light in a national publication.

“How did this go on so long?” Price said. “Somewhere, it should have been caught.”

Sonobe said the Regents office typically oversees entire degree programs, leaving the supervision of individual courses up to colleges and universities.

Meeting set

The board of Regents is scheduled to vote to accept the report at a meeting Thursday. The board will meet at 9 a.m. Thursday at the State Regents office, 655 Research Parkway, Suite 200, in Oklahoma City.


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