Fresno State extends its distance learning program with offerings in Santa Maria

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Fresno State extends its distance learning program with offerings in Santa Maria

California State University, Fresno will offer upper division coursework via interactive video to students at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria starting next fall, under a new academic partnership between the two schools.

The “distance learning” agreement means students at Hancock, a two-year community college, eventually will be able to work toward a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies without leaving home. Three classes will be offered in the fall.

The partnership extends Fresno State’s reach outside the San Joaquin Valley, where it already is offering live, interactive video courses at a number of locations. Fresno State is one of the leaders in the California State University system in distance learning, reaching 1,500 students through off-campus centers and interactive video courses.

“We are pleased to partner with Allan Hancock College to serve students in the Santa Maria area,” said James Forden, acting director of Fresno State’s Academic Innovation Center.

Dr. Ann Foxworthy, Hancock superintendent/president, called the agreement “a monumental step” for local residents.

“Until now, a student’s options for completing a bachelor’s degree or teaching credential without leaving home have been limited to commuting out of town, or paying a hefty price to attend one of the private university satellite campuses.” Such options are sometimes not practical, Foxworthy said.

In the future, Fresno State plans to offer coursework in the fields of business and criminology to Hancock students.

Two-way interactive video allows a professor and students to communicate with each other during instruction. Interactive video was first used by Fresno State in the early 1980s as a means for conducting meetings with colleagues at other campuses of the California State University.

Fresno State’s first off-campus center was established about 10 years ago at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, where now more than 400 students are enrolled in upper division undergraduate, graduate and teacher credential courses and programs. This spring, 119 of those students earned either bachelor’s or master’s degrees from Fresno State.

The university also operates off-campus programs in Lemoore, Coalinga and Firebaugh in conjunction with West Hills Community College; and in Madera and Oakhurst in conjunction with State Center Community College District. Additionally, as a joint effort with the University of California, Fresno States employs distance learning technology to offer a doctorate in educational leadership.

Fresno State also offers wide variety of courses to other destinations within California via the 4Cnet, the statewide educational network.

For more information, contact Forden at 278-2058.