First came eight tracks, then cassettes, CDs and now MP3s. The music stays the same but the medium changes. David Poole, vice president for Online and Professional Studies used this example to show California Baptist University undertaking for the OPS division which is under his leadership.
OPS is a new division at CBU which provides a convenient way for students to complete their undergraduate degrees through online classes, in the classroom or a combination of the both, as a hybrid class.
Originally known through several subgroups of Degree Completion Program and College of Professional Studies, OPS division will now serve as the “umbrella.”
Poole said that 71 percent of today’s college students are working professionals over the age of 25. Traditional, residential students only make up 16 percent of the higher education population.
“They need changes in the way that education is delivered,” Poole said. “They are looking for a delivery model that works with their schedule.”
So in order to cater to the needs of the majority, working professionals, CBU expanded its options. Over 13 majors and 14 concentrations will enroll over 700 students, the expected number of students to start the OPS program during the fall semester.
OPS students can take classes at their convenience because they are mostly working professionals who want to get their bachelor’s degree and move forward academically. These students also look for job advancement.
Apart from the convenience factor, OPS courses are accelerated and rigorous.
Dirk Davis, academic dean for OPS, explained that the academic year for an OPS student is divided into trimesters.
There are two 8 week sessions per trimester, where students take one-two courses. “OPS students have to do what traditional students do in half the time,” Poole added.
“There is rigor and qual- ity in every course. If you come to OPS, you’re going to have a CBU experience,” Davis said.
Even though there is a new focus for online classes, the message is still the same. Davis said that pedagogy always drives what they teach, the interaction hasn’t changed.
“We’re all about the great commission and teacher-student relationships,” Davis said. “We’re not a typical online university.”
Traditional students are also a part of the movement. Poole said a survey was conducted at CBU. Over 50 percent of traditional students surveyed said they wanted more evening and online classes.
Poole said that the social networking generation believes in online learning. Traditional students can take some of their general education courses online too, mostly offered during the summer.
Now with the expansion, students are offered classes at night, online or as a hybrid course, “in a limited fashion,” Davis said.
Currently, the OPS office is located in the Tyler Plaza, near the Galleria at Tyler. CBU leased the suite for three years
as the main campus will continue developing over the next several years. CBU staff moved to the location during the be- ginning of July.
OPS also includes a high use of technology. Tran Hong, the dean of technology for OPS, works to develop simplified methods that will help classrooms from different campuses, professors and ultimately students.
“Tele presence” is one of the current projects in the works. This is a sort of video chatting on high definition screens that staff and faculty would use for students who are away from campus.
Poole mentioned that this will greatly serve students who attend educational centers in Menifee, Chino and San Bernardino.
Davis and Poole said they have partnered with several cities and community colleges. This is in an effort to serve a broad and diverse market and spread the Great News.
There will be additional programs in the next few years for OPS degree-seeking students under Bachelor, Master’s and Doctorate programs as well as non-degree classes.