Online courses to make debut this summer 

Online courses to make debut this summer

May 6, 2013

LaGrange College will be expanding its offerings this summer with the addition of online classes to the schedule.

Provost David Garrison said the move has been in the works for a while.

"We began to explore the possibility of introducing online courses more than two years ago because many students expect them these days," he said. "We also wanted to increase convenience for working adults currently enrolled in the Evening College programs, and to increase options for summer enrollment, especially for our students who live away from Troup County."

Dr. Jon Ernstberger, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, led a faculty committee to study the proposal.

"They did extensive research on online learning and teaching to help us prepare," Garrison said. "Information was shared with the faculty, leading to many vibrant discussions. Ultimately the decision was made to offer select courses online."

Garrison and Ernstberger then began work with The Learning House, based in Louisville, Ky., who will serve as the college's third-party host for online courses. An agreement was signed in the summer of 2012 to implement the new classes.

Online offerings will join the more traditional summer courses, and will continue in fall and spring semesters. Reaction has been positive, with many classes already filled.

At the moment, there are no plans to launch any entirely online programs, Garrison said.

"It is possible that certain graduate programs eventually will be offered that way," the provost said.

Garrison is quick to point out that the mission of the college remains unchanged.

"It does not exclude online instruction as an appropriate venue, but it does call us to remain focused on the strong interpersonal relationships between faculty and students," he said. "Those close and well-defined relationships lead, over and over again, to transformation, both for students and for faculty."

However a student chooses to take a summer course, the provost said they are a good idea.

"Summer is a good time for students to make progress with their core courses, especially now that several of those courses are available online," he said. "Summer classes are more concentrated and focused than semester-long courses, so it's an especially good time for students to take on a course that's challenging. It gives them plenty of time for undistracted study."

Summer also offers a more practical advantage, Garrison said.

"It's is also a time to concentrate on one or two courses and improve a fragile grade point average."

For a complete listing of online and on-campus summer classes, visit

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