Doane offers approximately 200 online courses from each of its three colleges, said Andrea Butler.
Senior Taylor Wiens took a LAR 303 class online last summer which had some negatives, she said.
There was a lot of required group work, which was hard to do through an online course. The price was at a steep $1,200, she said.
A online undergraduate course costs $346 a credit hour and on-campus courses cost $314 a credit hour, according to Doane’s website. The average cost for a public university online class in 2017-2018 was $305 a credit hour, according to a U.S. News and World Report.
Doane prices online credit hours based on research from Julie Schmidt, vice president of finance, said Butler, associate vice president of Academic Affairs for Online and Adult Operations. Schmidt compares prices with a list of Doane’s peer, competition and university groups to determine a fair price.
Senior Jacob Bell took a leadership class online. Doane’s online education program doesn’t need much improvement, he said.
“Every class I’ve been online for has a lot of visuals, so there actually is an interaction,” Bell said. “You get a face-to-face still. It think it really is actually set up well. In terms of response rates, if you have questions, professors do respond to them, they want to help you.”
The university offers the Open Learning Academy. This used to be called Prerequisites for the Health Professions. The program offers classes for future students to prepare for medical school, according to its website.
Another online program is DoaneX, which was launched in 2018, Butler said. It offers individual courses and a three-course series: Lifestyle Medicine Competencies, Certified Lifestyle Medicine Executive and Healthcare Administration. There have been 76,505 students that have participated since it started, she said.
Not all students enjoy Doane’s online courses.
“After I took online classes, I was concerned about the people who only get their degrees online, because it was easy to fake what I knew,” junior Taylor Mitchell said.
Senior Jaci Parriott believes that it’s easy to cheat when taking an online class. She said students can look up answers while they are completing assignments and end up not learning the material.
“You don’t get the one on one with teachers,” Parriott said. “You lose the personal contact and the teachers can’t tell if you’re paying attention. People enjoy the easy way out, that’s why people like it.”
Pedro Maligo, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Lyn Forester, dean of the College of Education, both said that there aren’t specific plans in the works to expand online education. But that could change with recommendations from Doane’s current year-long strategic planning process, Maligo said.