Long-Distance Learning

Screenshot of the UNC Online home page

UNC’s large selection of online courses and degree programs and general information about online learning are now accessed at UNC Online, a new website.

Even though Saara Schmidt moved to Durango after earning a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from UNC, she’s close to finishing a UNC master’s degree without setting foot in Greeley.

The 2007 graduate with an unusually-spelled first name is able to achieve her goal of earning a master’s degree in Criminal Justice despite living almost 400 miles from the school’s Greeley campus, thanks to UNC Online.

In addition to a variety of individual courses, UNC Online, part of the university’s Extended Studies division, also includes bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. Some are offered completely online; others combine online curriculum with summer on-campus experiences.

Schmidt’s quest for her master’s in Criminal Justice was aided by the fact that UNC offers the only online program of its type in the region. The program was designed for people with full-time jobs, families or other obligations to juggle.

“It’s good for independent learners,” Schmidt said of her online educational experience.

Another reason she jumped at the opportunity to continue her education at UNC is the caliber of faculty.

“The Criminal Justice program is great and the professors are awesome,” she said.

Many of the same faculty who teach on campus deliver most UNC Online courses and programs. These are experts who keep up to date with the latest advances in their fields.

UNC’s online programs and faculty utilize national quality standard for the design and delivery of online courses to ensure that they are following high academic standards equivalent to face-to-face courses.

Through her online program, Schmidt has discovered her passion for working with at-risk youth and as part of her curriculum, she’s working with a juvenile center to evaluate its effectiveness.

"I want to help get them out of the system before they are adults because I believe it is harder for people to get out as adults,” she said.

Schmidt is in her second year of the two-year program and is scheduled to graduate in May 2011. Unlike some of her classmates in the program, she’s planning to attend the commencement ceremony.

Online classes can also be used to catch up on credits or get ahead. UNC’s interim session, which begins Dec. 13, is a good way to do either. A variety of online classes are offered in most departments to help students reach their academic goals.

UNC Online has a new website that compiles all the online coursework offered at UNC. For more information, visit http://unconline.edu.

- Brittany Sarconi

Of Note
The University of Northern Colorado has been offering quality distance education since 1902 and was an early adopter of the online education model, beginning with the offering of its first online program over a decade ago.