University of Alaska Southeast Distance Learning

Born from the restructuring of the now defunct UA Juneau, as well as a couple community colleges, the University of Alaska Southeast was truly created in Juneau in 1987, with campuses there as well as in Sitka and Ketchikan (site of the community colleges that were absorbed into UAS). An open enrollment university that values a strong liberal arts base located in the midst of North America’s last expanse of temperate rainforest, UAS serves the needs of Alaska and its communities with an experiential education program that takes full advantage of state’s nature and wildlife offerings.

Hosting four schools/colleges (Arts/Sciences, Education, Career Education, and Management) for its 3000ish student body to choose from , UAS has degree programs in Associate, Bachelor, and 4 Master level (MBA, MAT, Med, MPA), with Business and Educational graduate certifications as well. UAS believes in using and teaching in the “living classroom” around them, but also uses top technologies to educate as well (this isn’t an old fashioned learning environment). Regardless of major (ranging from BS in marine biology to BLA in communication), UAS offers educationally and technologically sound degrees in 40 different tracts (though there are only Associate offerings at former community colleges in Sitka and Ketchikan).

One of the first campuses to extend high speed wireless to all its buildings, UAS does indeed offer online classes and distance learning options, though, unlike other UA schools, there are completely online degree programs available. An online Bachelor of Business Administration is offered for students looking to work at their own pace without the worry of having to travel to campus in an entirely online format that maintains the standards of traditional learning at UAS. There is also an online MBA (created to be relevant to Alaska, with study in tourism, mining support services, and other state specific focuses), as well as other online degree offerings both at the undergrad and graduate level. There are several other graduate options to be found online, as well as several Associate programs (mainly in business or education areas, but with offerings for undergrad/grads in things like fisheries and health care). Graduate certifications for distance learners included offerings in business and 5 educational certificates, as well as professional endorsements.

Each online courses is given its own website, created specifically for that course, allowing students to access information specifically for the course they want without weeding through one group site for one department or college. Each student receive their own email account (the major communication tool between faculty and students) and are given 50mb of storage on UASHome, their online hub where one can upload and view other students’ portfolios, also allowing ease of access to all class materials for both student and teacher. Registration to advisement is available for any student, especially those on campus who, being in a wireless campus, are allowed access anywhere they have a computer. Distance learning at UAS is the sum of “flexability+quality+advancement+knowledge”, with professors utilizing delivery methods from audio conferences to televised/web participation courses.

A center for Alaskan culture and arts that uses both technology and the surrounding environment to educate and contribute to the state it calls home, UA Southeast is the most liberal and arty of the three major UA schools, but with all the same academic resources and success.

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