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Online Learning Makes Continuing Education Possible For Soldiers

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Internet Changing the Way We Learn One Mouse Click at a Time.

It is hard to imagine a world without the Internet. Since the mid 1990s, it has revolutionized the way people around
the world communicate, shop, entertain and conduct business. Today, at the crest of this global transformation, colleges and universities steadily have added online courses to their curricula — not only to compete with other schools, but to afford educational opportunities that meet the demands of a student’s busy lifestyle.

A university’s online education offering is often designed with an eye toward the adult learner who may be struggling to balance the demands of work, family and classes. Or as in Peter VanAmburgh’s case, unable to attend classes because of a military deployment. VanAmburgh, a graduate of Argosy University/Sarasota, is a Lieutenant Colonel with the Georgia Army National Guard. His unit was mobilized to the war in Iraq in February 2004. At the time he was in the dissertation phase of his doctoral studies and didn’t want to put his studies on the back burner, so he took his classwork with him.

“Most of my fellow soldiers were very surprised I brought my educational pursuits to the Gulf operation with me,” says VanAmburgh. “Even after a hard day’s work, I was known to dust off — literally — my dissertation project on my laptop to make some progress on it during downtime.”

VanAmburgh credits Argosy University/Sarasota’s flexible doctoral committee with allowing him the opportunity to finish his degree in a rather unorthodox fashion. “As educators, our priority is helping our students achieve their academic goals,” says Dr. Celia Edmundson, department head of the Organizational Leadership Program in the School of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences at Argosy University/Sarasota.

Online learning isn’t just helping soldiers who are deployed overseas reach their higher learning goals. It’s also an important tool for people who live in our nation’s 50th state. Because of geographical boundaries, a strong majority of the students enrolled at Argosy University/Honolulu take their courses online as well.

“Online courses enable students to have access to high-quality education no matter where they live or work,” says Dr. Boris Porkovich, president of Argosy University/Honolulu.

Dr. Jean Ramage, head of Argosy University/Honolulu’s school psychology department, emphasizes the economical advantage that helps many of her school’s students: “Online courses assist us in serving students on the neighboring islands who would have to pay hundreds of dollars for a round-trip airline ticket, just to attend a class in Oahu,” she says.

Online courses can be coupled with the traditional classroom setting, too, creating a successful hybrid of convenience and education. Dr. Elaine Artman, chair of the Department of Education at Argosy University/San Francisco Bay area, explains how the principle is being applied in the school’s new Teacher Credential Program. “Methods courses are face-to-face on weekday afternoons and Saturdays for seven weeks, and the theory courses are taught online. Students can complete all the coursework in one 15-week term this way. The second 15-week term is for the field work (student teaching).”

And as the “experience” continues to evolve, so does the way college students of all ages and backgrounds are improving their lives. Forget eBay — whether students live on an island in the Pacific Ocean or are stationed in a Middle Eastern desert, the Internet can enable them to pursue one of the most
valuable possessions they can ever own — an education.

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Online Learning Makes Continuing Education Possible For Soldiers
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