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ASU leaps onto national stage

Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013

Updated: Thursday, February 7, 2013 18:02

asu on national stage

Photo Illustration by Caitlin LaFarlette, Photo Editor

ASU has become a national leader in distance learning, climbing its way up the US News and World Report ranking for 2013 Best Online Education Programs.  The magazine ranked ASU in two main categories of the publication’s Best Online Education Programs: No. 11 for graduate business programs and No. 20 for graduate education programs.

“These are the best online master’s in business degree programs, based on factors such as level of accreditation, reputation for excellence among peer institutions, and academic and career support services offered to students,” US News reported.

For two years running, ASU has been selected as an elite institution of higher education in the southern region by US News. In one of the most important subcategories evaluated by US News, Faculty Credentials and Training, the online business program ranked No. 1 nationally, “beating out highly respected schools like Penn State for instance,” according to William Roe, associate dean of the College of Business and director of graduate business programs at ASU.

US News began their online MBA ranking process by sending statistical questionnaires to 959 regionally accredited institutions that granted a master’s degree in business, including public, private, and for-profit institutions. After repeated attempts to collect this data, 213 institutions said they would be offering online master’s degree business programs in accordance with accepted distance learning practices and procedures. Once the data had been collected and analyzed, ASU, ranking No. 11 overall, was among the best the nation has to offer.

“We allow only our full-time PhD faculty to teach in the online MBA, whereas some other online programs may go outside and hire temporary or adjunct faculty and they also may hire faculty who are not, under our accrediting body, considered academically qualified,” Roe said. “We also put our faculty through 32 hours of training with the Interactive Teaching and Technology Center here on our campus.”

The instructors receive the initial training as well as continued support from the center making them not only PhD level professors, but also highly effective with regard to online methods of instruction.

Distance education programs, as defined by US News and the US Department of Education, are virtually the same: An educational process that is characterized by the separation, in time or place, between instructor and student. Distance learning will have students who are separated from the instructor and support regular and substantive interaction between the students and the instructor synchronously or asynchronously. It is noted that students may have to be physically present for one-time orientations, exams or occasions of that nature.

Distance learning, or online programs, are evolving at such an alarming rate; it is hard to locate current statistics showing this growth. During the school year ending in 2008, 4.3 million undergraduate students, or about 20 percent of all undergraduates, took at least one online class. During that same period, approximately 800,000 students, or about 4 percent of all undergraduates took their entire program through distance education, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics.

The online programs at ASU are certainly growing, according to Roe, “As soon as these rankings were published, we were immediately inundated with phone calls and emails.”

“Our online graduate numbers continue to grow as our students are provided with opportunities to prepare for employment and challenges they will face in this globally competitive marketplace,” said Dr. Tim Hudson, Chancellor at ASU in a press release last month.


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