Oakland University Distance Learning

The only major research university in Oakland County, Michigan, Oakland University is a behemoth of education, sprawling over 1500 acres and attracting a student body of 19,000 undergrad and graduate students from all over the country and the world. One of the most recognized Doctoral research universities in operation, what was one Michigan State University-Oakland campus has been independent since 1970 and is now home to over a dozen research facilities, as well as numerous schools for Bachelor, Master, and PhD seekers.

Currently Oakland University offers 134 baccalaureate majors of study, as well as another 124 Master, PhD, and certificate programs for adult learners. Almost 94% of the faculty are PhD holders and are usually occupied in some research work at the school. Popular majors tend towards nursing, education, and the sciences (it is a research college). Outside of the labs, there is a thriving cultural aspect to Oakland University, with a Music/Theater/Dance department that is the leading center for the performing arts in southeast Michigan, an annual Meadowbrook music festival, and many programs of study for those seeking degrees (both grad and under) or certifications in the finer arts.

Oakland University offers a variety of online programs, some completely degreeable through distance learning while others are hybrids, or can involve intern work combined with online classes. Using either Moodle (their online course management system), or Elluminate (a video conferencing tool for distance learners), the University offers over 175 full credit online courses in the Spring 2011 semester alone. Their Nursing major is the only entirely online program with offerings at Oakland University, with a BSN (for registered nurses), a post-Master’s certification in Nursing Education, and an online PhD for Nursing Practitioners. One can also receive an Autistic Collaborative Endorsement through the school’s distance program, education for autism specific special educators that leaves about four courses left for Master in Special Education completion.

There are also hybrids offered, as in their MSN in Nursing Anesthesia, which is half online, but does require students to attend theory and lab/hands on the other half. Other, non-degree options online include some intern work, as in their English as a Secondary Language Endorsement, which can be complete in a year with online courses complimented by student teaching/internship. There are even others, the Master of Public Administration, where only selected core/elective classes are online.

There is also a degree for the innovative students looking to get a Bachelor online in a new field with their Bachelor of Integrated Studies program, a unique option drawing from all online offerings. Originally created to “better respond to the needs of its adult, “nontraditional”” students, it is a major created through the work of the student with faculty advisement, requiring a written educational plan discussing the merit of the degree and crossing several departmental boundaries.

ePortfolios and online teaching tools are offered as well, with links to library resources next to iTunes U and a Social Networking link for the college.

Operating off a mission built on “instruction, research/scholarship, service, and student development”, Oakland University works to reach as many eager minds as they can, opening their creative spirits to take the education given and find new ways to apply it to the ever changing world outside the academic walls.

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