New degrees are offered at Riverland

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 16, 2002

Working toward a bachelors degree is a big task for anyone, but it's especially hard if you have to work and raise a family at the same time. It's not an impossible task, though, especially since you don't need to look any further than Riverland Community College in Austin. Southwest State University in Marshall, Minn. now offers a bachelor of science degree in business administration, a bachelor of science degree in accounting and a bachelor of applied science degree in management at the Riverland campus.

Lori Jensen, the distance learning coordinator for Southwest State at Riverland, says the Southwest State program allows students to take their first two years of course work at Riverland and then spend the next two years taking Southwest State classes for their degrees at Riverland. "Riverland offers the 100- and 200-level courses, we offer the 300- and 400-level classes," Jensen says.

Generally, the classes are taught via television from the main Southwest State campus. Students in Austin can sit in a classroom at Riverland and watch their professor as he or she teaches the class in Marshall.

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It may sound intimidating, especially if you're worried about how to ask your professor a question, but students who watch the lectures on television are equipped with microphones and can ask questions or comment on the lecture at any time during the class. To make sure any technical problems that may arise are fixed quickly, a technician is always in the classroom, as well.

"We're here to make it as convenient as possible for the students," Jensen says.

Even if you don't like the idea of asking questions through a microphone or need to speak with an instructor outside of class, Jensen says "the instructors are really great with giving out their e-mail address and phone number so students can get in touch with them."

Professors also make an effort to know their distant students by coming to Austin at least once a semester to teach a class and one course a semester is usually taught entirely at Riverland. Jensen says the course taught at Austin is usually applicable to the applied science and the accounting degrees and takes place on a Friday night and Saturday morning, three times a semester.

Lori Wynia, an adjunct professor who specializes in leadership skills has been one of those traveling professors and says she will be teaching a Friday night-Saturday morning class in the fall. "I think it's a wonderful program … it seems to be very well received," she says.