Liberal Studies Online Poised To Educate Californias Future Teachers
Due to increasing student enrollment, teacher retirements, and class size reduction, California faces a crucial shortage of elementary school teachers, which is expected to intensify over the next ten years. The California State University (CSU) has launched a new effort to address this shortage.
The Liberal Studies Online program is a Web-based degree completion program for those working toward a baccalaureate degree in liberal studies and a California elementary teaching credential. The Liberal Studies Online degree is administered through CSU, Chico with online course work available from both Chico and CSU, Sacramento.
Liberal Studies Online is part of a series of initiatives that reflect California State Universitys ongoing commitment in teacher education, said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. The demand for quality teachers has drastically increased, and we must find alternative ways to meet that demand without forgoing our high standards of teacher education.
Professors at CSU Chico and CSU Sacramento deliver Liberal Studies Online courses using the multimedia powers of the Web. Digital images, text, and streaming video and audio files are used to present course material. E-mail, instant messaging, and phone calls during office hours keep students in contact with their professors and with each other.
Certain courses are delivered by live Web broadcast. Live broadcasts allow distance students the opportunity to interactively participate in regularly scheduled classes as they are taught on campus.
Courses are also digitally archived to allow students an opportunity to view classes asynchronously at their convenience.
Liberal Studies Online provides a link to the CSU for those who are restricted by a busy schedule and physical distance, said Dr. Gina Johnston, program professor and adviser.
The program is specifically designed for California residents to become Californias future teachers, Johnston said. Provided they are current California residents, students can use the Web to take classes from anywhere in the world.
For example, a U.S. soldier in Bosnia, who is a California resident, enrolled in the program because he wants to be an elementary school teacher by the end of his service term, Johnston said.
The program is designed for students who have two or more years of transferable college course work, including all lower division requirements. Students wishing to participate must meet the same CSU Chico admissions criteria and pay the same fees as their fellow on-campus students.
To obtain the liberal studies degree, students must complete a total of 120 units, of which 57-60 units are specified lower division courses that can be earned at a community college or other university. An additional 63-66 upper division units are available online through the Liberal Studies Online degree completion program.
Students who complete the program and meet the criteria for subject matter competence will not need to take the MSAT exam (Multiple Subjects Assessment for Teachers) prior to student teaching.
The Liberal Studies Online Program is also an option for students who already have a Bachelors degree other than Liberal Studies and would like to take courses to waive the MSAT. Coursework, time and cost will vary depending upon each students academic history.
The coordination of a systemwide Liberal Studies Online program continues a 26-year distance education tradition at CSU Chico. The degree completion program is accessible directly from CSU Chicos Distance & Online Education Web site at http://rce.csuchico.edu/online, which hosts a variety of established online certificate, baccalaureate and master's degree programs.
In the past, the Chico Distance & Online Education program delivered classes at a distance by using satellite transmissions to remote class sites. To increase interactivity and allow students to take classes from their home computers, Chico Distance & Online Education moved its focus from satellite to Web-based delivery in January 2001. The migration to online degree delivery received support and grant money from the CSU Chancellors Office.
Through the Chico Distance & Online Education program, students have access to Chico's Meriam Library, interlibrary loan and document delivery program, and online library services. CSU Chico will coordinate all academic advising, maintain the academic record of the participants, and award the baccalaureate degrees.
The CSU educates about 60 percent of the state's teachers, and Liberal Studies Online is one of the many initiatives CSU has implemented in recent years to meet the teacher shortage and to improve the quality and quantity of California's teachers.
To learn more about this new program, visit the Liberal Studies Online Web site at:
For more information on the CSU Liberal Studies Online program: