By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
In addition to its online bachelor's degree, the College of St. Scholastica is offering a bachelor's degree in health information management at St. Paul College.
The program is debuting this fall. The Twin Cities area was the logical place, said Ryan Sandefer, chairman for health informatics and information management at Scholastica.
"The cool thing is that we're getting fantastic students who are coming out of great two-year programs in the Twin Cities," Sandefer said.
Those students could take St. Scholastica's online program if they want to advance in the field. But many of the students from two-year programs are nontraditional learners, Sandefer said. "They are typically older working adults, and they're not quite ready to make that plunge into fully online programming."
So Scholastica set up a hybrid program in which students spend every other week taking on-campus classes during their first year. Instruction is online during the other week.
More typical programs begin with an intensive week on campus with all the rest done online. But some students find they need more hands-on support than that, Sandefer said. These students "don't know what they don't know" until they're actually at their computers. The program at St. Paul College is designed to help with that transition.
"You have a year to ask those questions of how to effectively use the technologies to improve learning outcomes," he said. "There's nothing more frustrating than to get a new technology that you don't know how to use and have your learning stifled by that."