Southeast Expanding Dual Credit Program with New Online Initiative

by News Bureau on Wednesday, Apr. 10, 2013

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 10, 2013 – Southeast Missouri State University is rolling out a new program, the first of its kind in the region, making dual credit courses for high school students more accessible and affordable.

The new program, to begin this fall, will help high school students prepare for college by making dual credit courses available online and at a rate competitive with other institutions offering dual credit in this region. The incidental fee for dual credit will be a flat rate of $85 per credit hour.

This initiative will greatly expand the array of Southeast dual credit offerings and will make them available to high school students regardless of the size of their school district. The program also offers high school students the opportunity to get a jumpstart on the rigors of college.

“This is another step in our ongoing commitment to provide access to higher education throughout the University’s service region,” said Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University. “This will allow high school students the opportunity to begin earning college credit at a very affordable rate.”

Under the new program, Southeast faculty members will offer a slate of online dual credit courses with the assistance of area high school teachers. High school students may access the courses via the Internet from their high school, home or nearby public library.

Dual credit courses tentatively scheduled to be offered online by Southeast during the 2013-2014 academic year are: Psychological Perspectives on Human Behavior, English Composition 1, Rhetoric and Critical Thinking, Society and Culture, College Algebra, Trigonometry, Basic Principles of Chemistry and Analytical Geometry/Calculus I. Courses offered, however, may vary by school district. Southeast currently has about 750 students a year who participate in dual credit.

“Online delivery allows us to simultaneously serve multiple schools and districts,” said Rick McClard, director of Dual Credit at Southeast. “Students going to most universities will be taking online courses, so the online collaborative teaching model will help them prepare” for the college experience.

According to McClard, Southeast faculty will insure course content matches that of the same course taken by University students and that faculty expectations are consistent across participating high schools.

High school teachers will work with university instructors to deliver the daily classroom instruction, labs and projects. This will allow both the University and high school instructor to monitor student learning while following the curriculum as designed by Southeast. High school instructors will use instructional time to reinforce and expand the University curriculum, while University faculty will design and grade tests, projects and assignments via the Web for dual credit students.

He says the new program is an advantage for high school seniors who may have already fulfilled their high school requirements, allowing them to use their senior year to plan ahead for college, explore a college discipline, get the hands-on experience of taking an online course and get a true feel for college-level coursework while still enrolled in high school.

The dual credit initiative is in response to an emerging shortage of high school teachers qualified to teach dual credit courses. McClard says this program, in which University and high school faculty collaboratively teach the courses, will significantly increase the number of high schools capable of offering dual credit courses and the mix of courses that may be offered for dual credit. Southeast officials say the new program also assists school districts in offering junior- and senior-level capstone courses, thereby helping them maintain high state-mandated accreditation levels.

Most importantly, McClard says, the program will accelerate students’ completion of post-secondary degrees.