Alaska Pacific University, originally Alaska Methodist University, dedicated its campus in 1959 and started enrolling students in October 1960. The campus began with Grant Hall the academic center, Gould Hall was also added as the student residence. The university’s excellent reputation grew rapidly, to accommodate its popularity a new student center and resident hall was built, named the Atwood Center.
To garner APU’s growing status the academic structure was reorganized in October 1977. Then, in November 1978, to further establish its educational goals and location, Alaska Methodist University was renamed Alaska Pacific University.
In order that the whole community may benefit from APU’s academic excellence, the faculty has developed the RANA Distance Education Program. RANA is a unique web-based distance learning program with an intelligent communication strategy as its core, and a dedicated team of coordinators committed to its positive outcomes. This development further emphasizes Alaska Pacific University’s mission statement, ‘Where Learning Is Active’.
The purpose of a well constructed distance learning project, like RANA, is to allow students of all ages in the Alaskan community to achieve their personal goals, without compromising family life or personal circumstances. This principle is evident in what RANA stands for, explained below.
RANA means: Rural – for those living in rural communities, Alaska – for those residing anywhere in Alaska, Native – for Alaska natives and others respectful of native cultures, and Adult – so working adults can reach their professional goals. The RANA program consists of two specific components; these are ‘synchronous’ and ‘asynchronous’ activities.
At the start of each semester the synchronous component begins with a 3-4 day on campus residency. This personal approach allows RANA students the opportunity to make valuable links with other students, their tutors, and become familiar with the interactive distance learning technology.
Asynchronous activities are carried out to the individual students’ own schedule. These well paced activities include: assignments, recommended reading, discussion board postings and email requirements. The asynchronous element forms the integral part if the ‘virtual classroom’ and is the framework of each course.
To complement these two key activities, APU distance learning courses use two, easy-to-use web -based applications. Elluminate is a web-conferencing, or ‘live-chat’ system that enables weekly contact with the virtual classroom. Moodle is the on-line learning management system. As well as being the distribution center for assignments, Moodle is also where each student’s grading system is accessed.
The majors offered through the RANA program are specifically designed to benefit the future and traditions of the Alaskan state. Courses include: Education K-8 A.A. and B.A., Career & Technical Education, Business Administration & Management, Health Service Administration, Human Services and Non-Profit Organization Management.
One question that is often asked with regard to distance learning is, ‘will my qualification carry the same kudos as a full-time or residential degree in the same subject?’ The answer is yes it will. In fact, given that many distance learners have chosen this option in order that they can continue to support their personal lives as well as study. Distance learning is seen as an additional measure of commitment and determination.
The RANA Distance Education Program will provide you with the same high quality learning experience as any traditional study environment.