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Interview: Deb Gearhart, Director eCampus Troy University

deb-gearhart.gifDeb Gearhart, Director eCampus at Troy University, joins us today to discuss distance education.

Tell us about the distance learning programs offered at Troy University eCampus.

Troy University started offering programs online in the mid 1990s. eCampus was stood up in the fall of 2006 as planned in the merger to Troy University. The approved programs that were being offered by the various distance programs within Troy State University were being merged into one program, eCampus. Fall of 2006 brought together the programs form Global Campus. Fall of 2007 brought together the distance programs form the Alabama Campuses. Fall of 2008 the GoArmyEd program, including eArmyU completed the transition.

What is the typical duration of each of your programs?

Undergraduate programs are at least 120 credit hours and graduate programs at least 30 credit hours. We operate on five nine-week terms a year. Students can work through a program in an accelerated time frame or work at their own pace.

What would you say makes Troy University eCampus programs different and better than other comparable online programs?

Two things we hear from students are that the entire program is online and they do not have to come to campus and the term system helps meet individual needs as to the pace of the program.

We offer Associate of Science Degrees in Business Administration and General Education as well as Bachelor of Applied Science in Resource and Technology Management and Business Administration. Other Bachelor degree programs offered include: Applied Computer Science, Criminal Justice, History, Political Science, Psychology, Social Science, Sport and Fitness Management and more. Click here to view our Undergraduate programs. Click here to View our Graduate programs

How important would you say accreditation is when choosing an online college?

Accreditation is extremely important. Students should always take courses from accredited institutions. We find that many students have courses from numerous institutions and we are happy to take transfer credit but students need to know that the only courses that transfer at Troy or other institutions are from accredited institutions.

There is some debate as to whether or not online degrees are as worthwhile as traditional degrees. What steps does Troy University eCampus take to ensure that online students are receiving the same education that they'd receive in a classroom?

We deliver the same program online that is delivered on campus. We have a quality assurance process in place to make sure that happens. I can go into more detail if you need it.

What would you say are some of the benefits of earning a degree online rather than in a traditional classroom?

Most online learners are adult learners and are balancing home, job and school. The greatest advantages to online education is its flexibility to be able to that. Online education provides the adult learner access to an education they may not have otherwise been able to obtain.

If a student enrolled in one of your programs was interested in finding an internship in their field in their area, do you have any means of assisting them in acquiring an internship position?

Most of our undergraduate programs have capstone courses where students can make those types of arrangements, depending on the program.

Does Troy University eCampus offer any job placement services to your students and graduates?

Students have access to the University placement office and that office is working to place more services like resume writing, etc. online for all Troy students.

Is financial aid available to students in your programs?

Yes and most students use financial aid and tuition assistance.

Do you have any advice for students enrolling in online classes for the first time?

If there is an orientation to the online programs be sure to go through that first. The biggest issues students run into deal with being prepared to learn online. DO you know how to use the course management system? Also time management skills. Online learning is used by busy adults and they need to be able to manage their time so that they have about 12 hours a week to work on a class. That is important for the Troy University eCampus and we work on a compressed term.

What do you enjoy most about your position at Troy University eCampus?

I have been working in distance education for over 22 years and I love it because of helping students gain access to an education they might not otherwise be able to do. At Troy we work hard to be a premier institution in distance education with our 19 degree programs fully online. We serve students worldwide.

Thank you Deb, for sharing and participating in this featured piece.

That concludes our interview!

For more information on distance learning programs available at Troy University, visit them online.

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