Cal State Online expands education options

Instead of attending campus classes, students can now earn their Master of Business Administration degree online through the Cal State Online program.

Instead of attending campus classes, students can now earn their Master of Business Administration degree online through the Cal State Online program. Khlarissa Agee/The Collegian

Fresno State plans to add two online degree options to its catalog in the near future as part of the new Cal State Online program.

The two new programs will be a certificate in homeland security and a Master of Business Administration.

Access has become the mission and focus of the California State University system, said Lynnette Zelezny, associate provost and associate vice president of Continuing and Global Education. As a response to a recent push from Gov. Jerry Brown, this new direction has taken the form of more online degree programs.

Scott Moore, associate dean of the Continuing and Global Education Division, said that Cal State Online is the California State University system’s attempt to get more students to think about staying in state when looking into online education and to inform them that online programs are available in California.

“Their purpose is to take a look at very successful online programs, such as Arizona State, Penn State and University of Maryland, College Park, that have these national and international online programs that are attracting lots of California students,” Moore said.

While the purpose of Cal State Online is to compete with the online programs of other universities, it is also an attempt to reach out to students who have had to drop out of the university for any num- ber of reasons. This portion of Cal State Online is called the Reconnect Program, Zelezny said.

“This is to reach out to those students who have entered the CSU or other public universities and accrued a certain number of units, but they were never able to complete their degree,” Zelezny said. “The Reconnect Program is supposed to be offering them degree options so that they can use those units to earn a bach- elor’s degree in a generalized study area.”

Moore said that Cal State Online is not a new campus. Students enroll at a single university in which programs are offered through Cal State Online. It is not a way for them to take a variety of courses from various CSU campuses but a better way for the CSU system to market its online programs.

“[The faculty] of the certificate in homeland security and the online MBA have expressed an interest in partnering with Cal State Online to bring visibility to those programs,” Moore said. “They’ll still be Fresno State programs, and the students that enroll in those programs will still be Fresno State students.”

As of now, there are no plans to add any other Fresno State programs to Cal State Online. Programs are designed by faculty interest in teaching respective subjects. It would take at least a year for any online programs to become properly certified, Zelezny said.

As of now, the university offers only one fully online degree, the Master of Arts in Reading.

Ultimately, the goal of Cal State Online is to keep California students in California.

“So instead of spending your money in Arizona,” Moore said, “why don’t you take a look at the quality schools that are here in California, that are taught by strongly certified and highly credentialed faculty, and take the classes here.”