Starting this fall, Leeward Community College will offer completely online associate’s degrees. UH Mānoa and UH Hilo will offer completely online bachelor’s degrees in fall 2020. The online degrees are aimed at students with families and full-time jobs who need to study at whatever time is best for them instead of having to attend classes at certain times or days.
Leeward Community College has two ways students will be able to earn their degrees completely online. They can either take regular online (also known as distance-learning) semester-long classes. Or they can take classes that are five weeks long and do them one class at a time.
By taking five-week classes, students can expect to graduate in two and a half years as opposed to two years for students taking traditional semester classes.
Many colleges in the U.S. already have completely online five-week classes. Capella University student Lisa Williamson said she wouldn’t have been able to get her Master’s degree in counseling had it not been for Capella’s online program because no one on the island offers CACREP (Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs) accredited counseling programs.
“I am very grateful for this new age of the internet and resources available to us at our fingertips,” Williamson said. “Had it not been for Capella’s program, I would’ve had to uproot my whole life in order to receive my Master’s.”
Despite the convenience and abundant resources available to support them, online students need to have self-discipline as classes are completely online and there is no one to remind you to do your homework. Such a program also requires self-motivation, which is why many students prefer attending traditional classes.
“I like getting to interact with other many people,” said Honolulu Community College student Mariah Butterfield. “I like to have social interaction available. It helps me learn better.”
WCC evening and online coordinator Jordan Lewton said, “So pros/cons … I mean that’s pretty subjective. Some students are going to love and thrive in this structure. Others may be better off sticking to 16-week online courses that they can enroll a la carte.”
WCC student Nathan Runion said he found short classes to be intense.
“I had to quit my job to pass MATH 75X during the summer,” he said.
So far, WCC will be offering Accounting 201/202 taught by Deacon Hanson as a 5-week online class starting in the fall. Other classes are still to be determined.
by Madelyn Barr, Ka ‘Ohana Staff Reporter