University System of Georgia

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University System’s eCore™ On-Line Courses Begin August 21

Atlanta — August 11, 2000

A college education will be accessible more easily to thousands of potential students with the August 21 debut of the University System of Georgia’s eCore™ offerings. Developed by University System faculty and offered by the University System’s GLOBE program, (Georgia Learning Online for Business and Education), eCore™ - specific required courses delivered on-line - ultimately will make it possible for “non-traditional students” to pursue the first two years of a University System undergraduate degree anytime and anywhere.

Over the next two years, students will be able to complete the University System’s “core curriculum” via the eCore™, a total of 60 semester credit hours.

Dr. Kris Biesinger, assistant vice chancellor for Advanced Learning Technologies with the University System of Georgia, said eCore™ “truly brings anytime, anywhere learning to Georgians. Georgia continues to set the national standard in the use of technology to make higher education more accessible.”

The debut of the eCore™ courses this fall comes after a concentrated development period initiated in May 1999. Then plans to develop a System-wide distance learning program and the related Georgia GLOBE initiative were announced by the University System’s Board of Regents. Georgia GLOBE markets the eCore™ courses to potential students through its website: Students with computers and Internet access interested in participating in on-line classes can still register for these eCore™ courses by going to the GLOBE website, but registration closes August 14, said Biesinger. “There is still time for interested students to take advantage of this user-friendly new means of pursuing a college education,” said Biesinger. “Truly, with eCore™, college is just a mouse click away.”

“No institution or system, that we know of, is at this stage of the game in terms of coordinated, accessible, on-line course development and delivery,” said Biesinger. She noted that a number of on-line courses and even degrees currently are available throughout the country. However, the University System of Georgia has taken the lead in the coordinated and integrated development of a comprehensive set of courses that share consistent design, development and delivery standards focused on ease of use by students. “This means that busy mom doesn’t have to spend time searching for courses and then have to download or learn one software program for a certain course and a different software program for another course. We’ve made it simple. Every eCore™ course will have a similar ‘look’ and ease of use, although very different content.”

The eCore™ courses are designed to be interactive and of a high quality, as well as accommodating to various teaching and learning styles. They also have been developed to be user friendly with consistent formatting and navigation strategies. Courses run on multiple computer configurations, are even accessible through relatively slow dial-in speeds, and are compatible with special software readers used by students with disabilities.

Dr. Joan Lord, chief academic officer at Floyd College in Rome and chair of the eCore™ subcommittee, noted that for the Fall 2000 semester, six eCore™ courses will be available: English Composition I and II, Mathematical Modeling, College Algebra, American Government, and U.S. History. All six courses will be offered in a web-based format. In addition, five of the six will be offered as telecourses through Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPTV). Additional eCore™ courses are in development, with nine new courses scheduled to be offered by the summer of 2001.

Teams organized from 36 faculty representing 22 University System institutions, together with the USG’s Advanced Learning Technologies staff and consultants, developed the first six eCore™ courses. Recognizing that no one institution could create the program alone, the success of the eCore™ builds upon the sound use of the strengths of the 34-institution System.

Course developers adhered to the following general criteria for on-line courses:

  • Students would have access to the System’s core curriculum regardless of where they live;
  • Students would be able to transfer credit earned from on-line courses to any University System of Georgia institution;
  • Access to courses and help desk support would be available to students 24-hours-per-day, seven-days-per-week; and
  • Both the technology and development process would be able to transfer to a larger scale operation and would be sustainable. This ensures the long-term usefulness of the course products.

Fees for the eCore™ courses are $300 per semester per course (which includes all technology fees needed to deliver the programs). Students enroll for the eCore™ courses through five University System institutions: Clayton College & State University, Columbus State University, Floyd College, State University of West Georgia and Valdosta State University. Registration for eCore™ courses can be done completely on-line through the GLOBE website or by calling the GLOBE toll-free number (1-888-404-2740). Registration is then processed electronically, and students do not have to visit the campus to register. These institutions become a student’s “home institution,” handling all administrative functions such as admissions, financial transactions, transcripts, counseling and the awarding of credit hours.

The long-term potential and market for on-line courses are significant, according to University System officials. A statewide study conducted on behalf of Georgia GLOBE and GPTV in February 2000 found that 90 percent of those surveyed said they or their children would take courses offered over the Internet and/or GPTV. The study also found that 67 percent of all respondents had access at home or at work to the Internet.

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