The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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CSU ventures into cyberspace

California State University will be launching a service to house online versions of degree programs currently offered at CSU campuses, providing access to students who were unable to complete their degrees.

A pilot program of Cal State Online will launch in January before launching a bigger program in the fall. CSUN was an initial participant in the online system.

“We have one program involved with Cal State Online,” said Kamiran Badrkhan, deputy dean for the Tseng College. “We were one of the first CSU’s to be involved with the program. We thought it was a great opportunity.”

Cal State Online will be a central unit that handles the outreach, marketing and technological support for all the programs.

“It serves as a central area where we would house the current online offerings as well as any new ones that are developed,” said Mike Uhlenkamp, director of media relations and new media for CSU Public Affairs. “So that the user experience as well as the support for all of these programs is all similar and there is a consistent type of support or technological look.”

This will allow students to access different undergraduate and graduate programs from different CSU’s to earn a degree without having to physically be there, Uhlenkamp said.

Cal State Online has partnered with Pearson, a technical support company that provides assistance to faculty and students, to implement the technology for the program.

Funding comes from a $50,000 contribution that each of the 23 CSU campuses made to help launch Cal State Online. Universities that do not offer online programs also made the contribution, said Uhlenkamp.

“The commitment from the campuses is that they all are interested or understand the need to create online programs,” he said.

“They are interested in investing in this program so that there is a repository so when funding is available they can create online programs where they can house these programs.”

Uhlenkamp said there will be two fully online programs will be offered: The “Reconnect” program, a bachelor’s degree completion for students who stopped attending CSU schools and cannot physically make it to a campus, and a master’s degree program.

The “Reconnect” program will target students who have taken courses at CSU campuses and have completed at least 80 units, but left the university within the last year or two.

Out-of-state students will also be able to enroll in these online programs, Uhlenkamp said.

Participation in Cal State Online is optional for the nearly 60 undergraduate and graduate online degrees.

Programs that are currently available, and any future programs that will be developed by the universities, will decide if there is a benefit in participating in the services offered, according to Uhlenkamp.

“The benefit is that there would be technical support, customer support, and different options in terms of technology that will help students that are not currently available in some of the programs,” Uhlenkamp said.

CSUN, which offers online degree programs through the Tseng College, has committed on programs to participate in Cal State Online.

Badrkhan said that their degree completion program will be participating in Cal State Online but as of now there no plans for their master’s degree programs to be involved.

“We decided to get involved because it’s a wider net for advertising,” said Badrkhan. “It merges the entire CSU system to give more opportunities for students.”

The cost for enrolling in programs offered through Cal State Online is still being calculated. The program will receive no state subsidizing, meaning that the amount that is paid for tuition will cover the complete cost of instruction.

Students, however, will be able to receive financial aid to help cover tuition costs.

The cost of tuition will be on a per-unit basis and is being planned to be less than what for-profit online universities such as the University of Phoenix charge, said Uhlenkamp.

Information on the how much the revenue, tuition and the cost to have Cal State Online running is still being calculated and will be discussed at the Nov. 13 and 14 board of trustees meeting.

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