Point, click, degree

Since 2001, the School for New Learning has offered an alternative way for students to get a diploma, through accredited online degree programs.Now the program offers new interdisciplinary degree completion majors as another path students can take on the road to getting a degree.

Founded in 1972, DePaul’s SNL prides itself on bringing life and work experience that adults have already acquired and combining it with hands-on activities in and out of the classroom.

DePaul’s SNL program was originally established to cater to adult students who were either returning to school from the workplace or entering the collegiate world for the first time.

Program Director Beth Rubin thinks SNL’s new programs will increase enrollment.

“The pace and structure are streamlined. I think it will appeal to a wider range of students than SNL’s “traditional” program – which is actually very non-traditional,” said Rubin.

SNL faculty member Ann Stanford describes the new programs such as Applied Behavioral Sciences and Leadership Studies as not only quick and clear paths for adult students, but also a way for SNL students to receive a mixture of instruction.

“Each degree incorporates SNL courses especially designed for the program, as well as courses from the psychology department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of College of Communication,” she said.

But the looming question remains, are online degrees as valuable as traditional bachelors?

According to Rubin, DePaul’s standards for online programs match those for traditional degree programs in the eyes of the students.

“In my experience, all DePaul students want a great education where standards are high, the education is really focused on ensuring that students develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed, and faculty care about their students,” she said.

“The only differences between students who are attracted to online degrees and those who want “traditional” (face-to-face) degrees is that the online-seekers either 1) don’t live in the Chicago area; or 2) have a life where travel to campuses is difficult for them.”

According to SNL student Kelly Sipich, online programs are a great way to transition back into school.

“SNL Online is the easiest way to transition back into learning, especially when life is so demanding. Don’t let your schedule (or age) determine what you can’t do. Taking online classes allows you the flexibility to learn.”

Traditional or non-traditional, SNL is demonstrating the university’s determination to provide education through every channel possible.