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How to Avoid Closed Courses

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How to Avoid Closed Courses
By Erica Fisher, Student Engagement and Advising Center, Fort Hays State University

One of the great things about FHSU is early pre-enrollment for virtual students.  Pre-enrollment for virtual students typically occurs a full week before on-campus students.  However, many virtual students don't take advantage of this perk, and miss out on early pre-enrollment.  Nothing is more frustrating for a student then trying to pre-enroll and finding that all their needed courses are closed.  This situation can be avoided by following the steps below:

1.  Know when you can pre-enroll.  The Registrar's Office provides an Academic Calendar for each semester that lists the opening date for pre-enrollment.  This calendar also includes information on enrollment deadlines, financial aid release, withdrawal deadlines, and more!  Start your semester off right by plugging these dates into your personal calendar.  You can also check your date by logging into TigerEnroll and selecting the semester you wish to pre-enroll in.

2.  Schedule a pre-enrollment appointment with your advisor.  It is important to discuss course options for the upcoming semester with your advisor.   This helps to ensure that you are taking courses in the proper order while adhering to pre-requisites.  It is also an excellent time to discuss academic progress and academic/career goals.  This meeting should be held at least a couple weeks before pre-enrollment begins.  You will find your academic advisor's contact information in TigerTracks.  Once you've logged in, click on the "Online Services tab," and then on "Advisor Information" under the "Academic & Career Advising" heading.

3.  Pre-enroll on your designated day in TigerEnroll.  Do not put this off.  Once pre-enrollment begins, courses fill up extremely fast!  It's important to pre-enroll on your designated day in order to avoid missing out on the courses you need.  Make sure you complete all the necessary steps in TigerEnroll.  Are you a first time user of TigerEnroll?  If so, FHSU offers step-by-step instructions as well as video demos.

4.  Finalize and pay for your enrollment.  Be sure to complete this step.  The deadline for finalizing your enrollment is typically a couple of weeks before the semester begins.  You can find the deadline on the Academic Calendar.  Instructions for finalizing your enrollment in TigerEnroll can be found on the AACE website.

5.  Order your textbooks.  To order books, go to the FHSU Bookstore website at fhsu.bkstr.com OR select "Order Textbooks" from inside TigerEnroll on the "Pre-enrollment/Schedule Changes" tab.  You are able to purchase new or used books (subject to availability), and, in most cases, will be able to sell books back at the end of the semester by following specific instructions outlined on the FHSU Bookstore site. The bookstore also offers a rental option. Please remember to order your books early so you will have them before classes begin!

Sometimes life happens, and the pre-enrollment date slips by before a student can pre-enroll.  If you find yourself in this situation, there is another option:  the TigerEnroll Wait List.  If a seat in a course opens up, the next student in line on the Wait List will be offered that spot.  To add yourself to the Wait List, please view our video demo or speak with your academic advisor.

Remember, the easiest way to avoid closed classes is to pre-enroll on your designated day.  You can view your pre-enrollment day in TigerEnroll or on the Academic Calendar.  When in doubt, contact your academic advisor!

Fort Hays State continues to gain national recognition

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Recognition of Fort Hays State University's online offerings as among the best in the country have continued to come since January's U.S. News & World Report published their rankings. Those rankings placed FHSU as the top Kansas school, and one of the elite schools in the country, for its education programs offered through the Virtual College.

Fort Hays State University's online degrees, offered through the Virtual College, were recognized in January by U.S. News & World Report as the top online programs in Kansas and among the very best offered in the United States, have again been recognized for excellence. Most recently, FHSU ranked No. 5 nationally for Best Online Bachelor's Programs for Veterans, No. 16 for Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs for Veterans, and No. 17 in Best Online Graduate Business Programs for Veterans.

FHSU's Virtual College offers 27 bachelor's degree programs and 14 master's degree programs online. Many offer multiple concentrations so students can choose the course work that best meets their needs.

"These rankings are important independent confirmations of the excellent value -- very high quality and low cost -- of our Virtual College offerings here at Fort Hays State," said Dennis King, director of the Virtual College.

"Since we invest our money to raise quality in our academic programs and to keep tuition low rather than buy a college bowl game, or buy a bus and travel the country with our name across the side of it, or spend a fortune on national media advertising, it's wonderful to get this kind of recognition and affirmation from entities like U.S. News and the other ranking agencies."

Another recent recognition came from the National Council on Teacher Quality, in its 2014 Teacher Prep Review. On campus as well as online, FHSU ranked No. 3 in the nation for Elementary Education and No. 12 in Secondary Education. FHSU ranked No. 1 among all schools in Kansas.

The university's undergraduate secondary education programs were the top in the NCTQ's Midwest Region, comprised of the 12 states from Ohio to Kansas, north to North Dakota and east to Michigan.

In yet another ranking, FHSU was named one of five colleges among the least expensive in the United States in an article in USA Today. That article listed FHSU as fifth least expensive. The USA Today report was based on affordability ratings from Online U (www.onlineu.org) and rankings of online programs by The Best Colleges (www.thebestcolleges.org).

OnlineU.org, a website created by SR Education Group, Kirkland, Wash., this month issued an expanded ranking FHSU's early childhood education degrees No. 2 most affordable in the nation. Teaching degrees generally were ranked as No. 4 most affordable in the country. In February, OnlineU found that FHSU was the second-most popular college in Kansas based on a study written on data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Overall, FHSU is also in the top five in OnlineU's rankings in counseling, human resources, IT and computer science, and nursing, and is among the organization's top five in the nation overall.

TheBestSchools.org, in May recognized FHSU’s B.S. in Business Administration and the M.B.A. in Tourism and Hospitality Management as Wise Choices for affordability and quality. These degrees scored high for transferability of credits, comprehensive curriculum covering key aspects of business theories and practices and, for the M.B.A., the ability to take time off for personal reasons and come back to finish.

In March, the online M.B.A. program at FHSU (the program has 11 concentration possibilities) was ranked a "Best Buy" and placed No. 13 out of 124 colleges assessed by GetEducated.com.

On a local level, the university's home city came in for praise from a news site published by Movoto Real Estate, a national real estate brokerage licensed in more than 30 states. Movoto listed Hays as the third-most exciting place to live in Kansas, based on nightlife, live music venues per capita, parks, outdoor activities, availability of arts and entertainment, percentage (higher is better) of restaurants that are not fast food, and percentage (higher is better) of residents age 18 to 34 (Hays came in at 37 percent). No. 1 was Manhattan, No. 2 was Lawrence.

Virtual College earns recognition

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The following article came out today in the Hays Daily News. We thought we would share this with you since it speaks to our philosophy of education and will give you an idea of how important you, our students, are to us. Thanks to the reporter who wrote the story, Elizabeth Golden, for giving us permission to reprint her story here. This is a very nice addition to the list of high rankings the Virtual College has won this year, and we are pleased to be able to share it with you.

7/11/2014

By ELIZABETH GOLDEN
egolden@dailynews.net

The Virtual College at Fort Hays State University has been recognized as one of the most affordable degree programs by onlineu.org.
OnlineU is a nonprofit website dedicated to refocusing the higher education conversation around affordability and quality.
"We are trying to migrate the conversation away from prestige and selectivity," said Kimberly Wetter, head of marketing at SR Education Group.
"We're trying to start talking about affordability and quality. We started this research because student debt is out of control, and we wanted to change the way people thought about online education."
Tuition costs for the virtual college are $186.50 per credit hour for undergraduate and $251.38 per credit hour for graduate coursework.
OnlineU listed the 20 top universities in the 25 most popular programs of study.
"FHSU really showed a strong commitment to affordable degrees across the board," Wetter said. They're offering the most popular degrees to earn online at one of the most affordable prices in the nation."
The early childhood education and the teaching program were ranked in the top five after the company researched more than 2,000 universities.
"These ranks are a great way of indicating the quality of the Virtual College," said Dennis King, director of the Virtual College and learning technologies. "We can't afford traditional advertising, so what we do is take that money we would spend other places and put it back in our programs. We don't have that advertising budget. This is a way for us to advertise on a national and international scale, and do it by offering quality programs that an affordable price."
The Virtual College has been in existence since 1998.
"We were an early adopter of online education," King said. "We have a culture on campus. Our faculty and staff are hired with the idea that they will be working with Virtual College students and offering online programs."
More than 6,000 students FHSU students are "truly virtual," meaning 100 percent of their coursework is completed online. The university aims to reach 7,500 "truly virtual" students by 2020.
For the previous year, the overall number of students enrolled in online education dropped, but FHSU's enrollment increased by more than 12 percent, King said.
"In tough times, you have the option to either grow the university and take a small profit and reinvest the rest in the university," King said, "or to charge more, have fewer students and take a larger return. We've made the commitment that we rather serve 100 students and get a small return than serve 10 students and get a large return."
The average age for Virtual College students is 34, and the majority of students are from Kansas.
"It's our obligation to serve Kansans," King said.
"You see what (the Virtual College) means to them. You see the passion they have; the accomplishment of completing an education while raising kids, working a full-time job. What we do changes lives." Not just for that individual person, but for their families and every generation after that. We're changing history every time we graduate someone from a program."

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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