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Out of State Authorization

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Online and Distance Education is an important part of Fort Hays State University's (FHSU) program offerings, with many students participating in federal financial aid. Recent amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965 include changes in regulation for State Authorization that may impact online, distance, and correspondence education providers.

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education issued a regulation tying an institution's ability to offer federal financial aid in a state to the institution being authorized in the student's state. The regulation was subsequently "vacated" by federal court ruling and is not currently being enforced. However, FHSU is still working to comply with state policies for distance education.  The relevant language includes:

If an institution is offering postsecondary education through distance or correspondence education to students in a State in which it is not physically located or in which it is otherwise subject to State jurisdiction as determined by the State, the institution must meet any State requirements for it to be legally offering postsecondary distance or correspondence education in that State. An institution must be able to document to the Secretary the State's approval upon request. State Authorization Regulation Chapter 34, § 600.9(c)

FHSU is working with state agencies to comply with required authorizations so that we can continue to provide educational access to students across the country.  The requirements as to which educational activities require authorization vary from state-to-state.

The Syllabus – A most important document

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  On the first day of class, or sometimes sooner, the syllabus will be made available to you. Read it thoroughly. Of all the documents you will get in a course, the syllabus is perhaps the most under-appreciated. Not only is the schedule in the syllabus, all of the class rules and expectations are there also. What, if any, are the prerequisites for the course? What is the name of the required text (and other materials)? What are the course objectives, and what should you learn? How often must you log in to the course? Does the professor take late work or not? What do you do if you miss an exam, and what (if any) are acceptable reasons for submitting late work or taking a make-up exam? What accommodations are offered for students with learning disabilities? Are there discussion boards in the LMS (learning management system – e.g., Blackboard, Moodle, Angel, etc.), and if so, how frequently are posts required? How will you be graded? How long after your work is submitted should you expect to get feedback and a grade? What work is due, when is it due and how should it be submitted?

 

All these questions and more are answered by the syllabus. Here is a really great idea – keep all the syllabi you get, from every course you take. Why? Someday you may transfer schools, or go to graduate school at another institution. When I applied to my MBA program, the university had various prerequisites that I had to show that I had satisfied. For example, I had to have taken a statistics class. Since I had majored in business, that wasn’t a problem, but then I found that they wanted to know that my business statistics class had certain specific key learning outcomes. Did it contain certain elements of inferential and descriptive statistics, or just one type? Having kept my syllabus from that undergraduate statistics class, it was easy to see what I had taken and what aspects of stats I had been exposed to. The same types of questions were asked about a couple of other courses I had taken. Having the syllabus from courses I had taken saved me from having to take (and pay for!) several courses prior to admission to graduate school. My daughter is in college now, and scans all of her important documents into her computer as pdf files so she will have them when she needs them.

 

One thing most instructors put into their syllabi is a caveat that the course schedule is subject to change. For that reason, do not take it on faith that the course schedule will remain as it was written. Be alert. When you log into Blackboard, look for announcements that will tell you if things have changed or are changing. Knowing that the assignment due date or exam date has changed is your responsibility. Another good idea is to create a master calendar with the key due-dates for all your classes. That way, you will never miss a deadline. Take a look at all your classes and assignments. Do you think you will need tutoring for any of your classes? We provide a service called Smarthinking here at Fort Hays State for our online students. Don’t wait until the last minute to get access. Allow at least a week to get everything done, including the sign-up process. A good time to get started with whatever tutoring service you may use is the first week of class. That way you will have access when you need it.

 

I’ll close this article with another thing we’ve discussed previously. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get to know your professor. If your professor recognizes your name when he or she gets a post or email, things just go better. Make contact early in the course. Ask for help sooner rather than later. If you have questions about anything in the course – assignments, the work itself, projects, whatever – do not wait to get answers. As an instructor, I sometimes get emails on Friday afternoon wanting to know what to do with a major assignment that is due that night. I typically make assignments due at 11:59 p.m. the day they are due. Waiting until the day the assignment is due to ask about it? Not a good idea.

 

Best of luck to you as you begin your new semester. If we can help in any way, don’t hesitate to contact us!

 

Brad Goebel

The Virtual College

Fall Classes Are Forming!

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It’s pre-enrollment time at FHSU!   Whether you are part-time or full-time, exploratory or degree seeking, traditional or a non-trad student, it’s important you connect with your Academic Advisor.  Every student at Fort Hays State University is assigned to an advisor with whom they have the opportunity to visit with about their academic program and their career and life goals.  Your advisor is there to assist you with course selection, make suggestions in program planning and to help you with academic questions or issues.  Your academic advisor is your connection to success at FHSU!

As a student, you need to remember you are ultimately responsible for the choices you make. Take the initiative to contact and maintain a working relationship with your advisor.  Below are tips of what to do before you meet with your advisor to pre-enroll:

·       Call, email or stop by to make an appointment - and keep your scheduled appointment

·       Be prepared - have a list of questions or concerns you wish to address

·       Be open and honest about issues that may be prevent  you from achieving your best…remember your  advisor wants you to succeed and reach your academic goals

·       Familiarize yourself with the degree requirements

·       Utilize  resources available to you on campus

·       Follow through on your advisors recommendations

Your Academic Advisor is there to help navigate you your through your educational experiences. Visit regularly with your advisor to evaluate your educational plans, experiences and opportunities at FHSU. 

Best of luck!

Debbie Staab

 

FHSU Serving Military

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Serving those who serve us is a distinction that Fort Hays State University is proud to share.  Over a decade ago, FHSU was one of the original 16 schools to be accepted into the Navy College Program Distance Learning Partnership (NCPDLP).  The partnership grew this week as the U.S. Navy selected Fort Hays State University's Bachelor of Business Administration in management, emphasis in human resources, for its distance learning program.

"The degree successfully meets 40 percent transferability in major and major-related requirements," said Joyce Larson, project director of the Navy College Program Distance Learning Partnership.

The Navy handbook that lists the available degrees is a data networking system created by the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges. It includes those degree programs and courses that are readily transferable for military students.

"Basically, the NCPDLP partnership allows Navy members to transfer their military experience and perhaps college credit into FHSU somewhat seamlessly," said Jeremy Carlton, military success specialist at FHSU.

FHSU’s partnership with the Department of Defense currently allows more than 150 Navy students, and 550 military virtual students overall, to enroll in courses for their degree programs, said Carlton. FHSU also has about 80 on-campus military students.
This selection comes a week after FHSU received notice that U.S. News and World Reports has ranked the school as a “Best Online Program for Veterans”.   FHSU has agreements with all branches of the military, and is a proud support of the Yellow Ribbon program.  

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