STATEWIDE EDUCATIONAL SERVICES (SWES)

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1 USD SWES The successful development of Continuing Education applied on Internet A study in the University of South Dakota/ STATEWIDE EDUCATIONAL SERVICES (SWES) 731

2 General Education Center Tzong-Song (Johnson) Wang Dept. of Manag. Info. System Tajen Technology Institute, Pingtung Abstract Concerning the continuing education markets, State-Wide Educational Services, the Continuing Education Division of The University of South Dakota (USD) has served the citizens of South Dakota, the region, and beyond since The programs offer learners a journey in learning? Just like the slogan says: learn today for tomorrow anytime, anyplace. I would like to focus on this kind of field to survey the researchable market, extending knowledge realm, exploring more educational resources. Thus, this research has a look at the development of continuing education of USD, especially in the process of development applied on internet and create some questions related by searching for the topic such as Distance Education -- South Dakota Virtual University and the topic -- USD Continuing Education, in the programs of SWES. The University of South Dakota offer such a chance to extend excellent academic options to benefit the career, personal interests, or to meet professional certification or licensure standards. We understand someone s needs to be learning at a distance. Therefore, the SWES programs and courses are delivered to fit the best time for work, family and community. Key words: Continuing education, Distance education, On-line learning, World Wide Web, Web-based. 732

3 INTRODUCTION The market of learning gradually became an open and developmental one in this society nowadays. Besides, we will know that distance education will be a tendency for someone who wants to do continuing education not only for their degree but also their interests. In such an economic decadency and multiple competitive societies, we should learn how to absorb more and more knowledge and to achieve the goal expected and dedicate what we know in the above situation. It is necessary and important for us to keep some powerful software skill and adopted higher technology way to enhance the channels of learning. Furthermore, a degree and continuing education has become a necessary passport to future career and personal opportunities. Also, it s a great time to be continuing the education as a distance learner! Site address, date, and the SWES program The information as described above is also reserved by checking out the web site for more update at: or or As mentioned as above, we can find out more information about the mission of study, the process of development, the way of taking courses etc. Now, I would like to state these programs of USD in detail about What s the SWES? What s the online learning? What s the WEBCT? In order to further understand the exact path to enter distance education realm, we know that the missions are to provide opportunities for continuing education, outreach education and offcampus delivery of various programs. Additional outreach and continuing education opportunities that fulfill the mission to provide education throughout the whole area covered like the state of South Dakota. Extending the goal and realm as wide as the programs can refer; the USD provides diverse educational opportunities to citizens throughout the State, utilizing various delivery methods. The introduction of correspondence coursework started in 1918 that could be delivered to the people of South Dakota, the region, and beyond was the beginning of statewide educational offerings. Since those early days, USD has evolved and continues to respond to the needs of 733

4 students and the state as a whole. The mission of Statewide Education Services (SWES) is to bring the academic resources of the University to the citizens of the state, region and beyond. Therefore, the SWES offered the way like a learning journey that includes anytime, anyplace, statewide, on site, weekend, and correspondence study courses are available at any convenience in own home. And the courses are available at home or at selected sites in and around South Dakota. The on site courses are held in classrooms located in Rapid City, Sioux City, and Sioux Falls. The weekend courses are held on Friday nights and Saturday on the USD campus in Vermillion, Internet or Correspondence. Statewide Educational Services provides technical support for two videoconference rooms on the campus of The University of South Dakota. These rooms are used regularly for a variety of conferences and classes. Shared courses, business and educational meetings, dissertations and seminars are some of the videoconferences that take place in these rooms such as the Governor s Electronic Classroom, Continuing Education Swift site, Continuing Education Polycom. What is Online Learning? Online learning is conducted via World Wide Web using a web browser. We will receive and submit course work and interact with participants and instructor via computer and modem. The asynchronous nature of online learning allows us to participate in online courses at any time and any place convenient to us. What is WebCT? WebCT is a Web set of Course Tools designed to facilitate Web-based educational environment. It can be used to create online courses. Aside from facilitating the organization of course material online, WebCT variety of tools and features that can be added to a course to enhance an interactive online learning environment. Example tools include course calendar, , online chat, online quiz, bulletin board, and much more. Those tools are so convenient that we can do Technical Knowledge Self-Test, Online Learner Skills Self-Test, FAQ about online learning, Meet the Faculty, Online Communities, Online Student Evaluation. Furthermore, the students can do registration, financial aid, 734

5 drop/withdraw courses, book & supply, test with security on Internet. In 2002, USD offered the following off-campus degree programs (SWES Self Study): 1. MBA- Master of Business Administration with majors in Management, Health Service Administration. 2. MSAS- Master of Science in Administrative studies with optional emphases in Human Resources, Health Services Administration, and master of Arts in English (w/mc), Master of Arts in History (w/mc) 3. TET- Master of Science in Technology for Education and Training 4. Ed.S.- Education Specialist Degree in Technology for Education and Training 5. B.S. -Business Administration, majors in management and accounting. 6. M.A.- Elementary and Secondary Education, Provides advanced study that allows educators to grow in the skills and knowledge that enhance both teaching and learning with South Dakota State University (SDSU) 7. Career Development Series- Comprised of three 18 undergraduate credit hour certificate programs. 8. AA General Studies- Provides opportunities for students to complete a degree program while exploring career possibilities. 9. AS Nursing- This degree provides the nursing major curriculum and required general education courses to all interested student including the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) who wishes to advance to registered Nurse (RN) status. Statewide department is responsible for the design of curricula, the maintenance of system, the membership of recruit. The whole building equipped a number of equipments there, including multiple-media classrooms, center for testing, published room, textbooks room etc. This department is selfsupported, not state supported. The budget of this department is about $3,500,000~4,000,000 per year, and the programs are running very well every year. One-way another, almost 70% of the students is a woman who joins these continuing educational programs to develop their knowledge and skills. It is good that the continuing education program provides a lot of learning 735

6 channels for females. The channels are not limited; females can learn everywhere and anytime. Right now, they could stay at home to take care of their family and study at the same time. In Taiwan, women did not have enough chances to educate themselves during last generation because of gender discrimination. But most of them wish that one day they could have some channels to continue learning. So some advanced study channels like community college, the (National Open University (NOU), there are a lot of females learning there. Again, they are learning not only for degrees, but also for their interests. If a program like Continuing Education- Statewide Educational Services at USD could provide educational service in our country, it would open more life-long learning channels for our citizens. In other words, we can develop higher technology and create some kind of software to integrate different schools programs. So that the school authority will share the cost and establish better opportunity in absorbing more students. On the other hand, it offers more space for those who students want to get more knowledge after working for a period of time. As followed, I made the descriptions based on the SWES programs of USD, I selected and created some questions go with the concept discussed in this study. I try to do further research by interviewing someone, an assistant dean, took over the almost affairs. Some questions were asked as followed: 1. What s the nature of this continuing education activity -- which is to be served? As mentioned as above, the nature of continuing education will regard the education as a distance learner. Offering the real need to be learning at a distance. Also, the programs and courses are delivered to fit everyone s time for work, family, and community. Adult learning takes place not only at some school but also at a distance and at home or work. Nevertheless, this activity will serve adults who are place bound due to military service or due to personal limitations. Again, just to remember the nature of Learn Anytime Any Place. 2. What is the range and frequency of the content presented? 736

7 The content presented a learning journey like anytime, anyplace, statewide, on site, weekend, and high school & beyond (including dual credit courses, the early scholars program), non-credit programs, and student & academic services. The range is wide and smoothly. The programs are open almost 24 hours per day. The average age of those students is 35 years old in the fall and spring semesters and 25 years old in the summer. The reason why the age emerges such a distribution like above, since the older students usually take a vacation after a long period of work in the summer, except for teachers when they have more flexibility to take graduate classes in normal semesters. Some data also show that almost 75% of students who do continuing education are female compare to the male. For, The female have to give up their dream while the first baby born. The female don t want to isolate from this society and select some programs to enhance their knowledge. 3. What needs assessment seems to prerequisite to serve the clients? Needs assessment is determined by personal interview, surveys and focus groups. Sometimes advertising an approved degree program will generate a need by individuals, and they apply and take the necessary tests for admission. Also, individuals will be influenced by the media and "the best jobs or hot careers for the year 2002" and that may translate to a need by potential students. We must, however, be able to assess whether the career or program fits the students true interest and academic ability. That can often be addressed through advising, by a career assessment instrument or in consultation with a student-counseling center, but more typically a student will self-assess if there is "a fit". 4. What type of program design is used and what expertise is required for program developers? Expert faculty for University approved courses develops the Curriculum. Some faculty developing Internet courses will work with the Center for Instructional Design and Development and the Instructional Designer at Continuing Education to meet Course Readiness Standards and the Best Practices of Distance Learning. Contract training design is based on corporate need and the best practices of adult learning. Expertise is needed in the discipline, workforce and 737

8 leadership, which experience is very helpful and provides knowledge of best practices of teaching for learning or for teaching adult learners. 5. What type of recognition (credit, certification, certificate) is involved? USD Certificates of Completion include: * Career Development services, with emphases in Business Communication, Employee Assistance and Human Resource Development. * Professional Associate Certificate in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Studies. The University of South Dakota s State Wide Educational Services unit (SWES), Established in 1967, is a leader in administering statewide programs and services which include: On-campus workshops and conferences, non-credit travel, high school correspondence courses, Real Estate courses (since 1972), Weekend University in Vermillion (beginning in 1998), Center for Public Higher Education in Sioux Falls (since 1992), the Tri-State Graduate Center in Sioux City (since 1990), programs offered in Rapid City (since 1974), correspondence study (since 1918), telecourses over South Dakota Public television (since 1972), and the Telecommunication Center, opened in University classes are for credit, and programs offered as a certificate or for certification may also be for credit, but also for non-credit for corporate, government and healthcare training programs. 6. What costs and profits (if any) are involved? Expenses and Profits vary greatly depending on faculty costs, central administration costs, other operation and management costs such as technology. Thus, some courses operate at a loss and some at a 30% profit after expenses. Last year we had unusually high expenses due to some unexpected administrative overhead expenses at two distance sites, so our profit was significantly reduced but we did not lose money. As I mentioned at the class, our Center for Continuing Education is entirely 738

9 self support-funded. We receive no statelegislated funding. 7. What is the nature of instructional delivery? Is the instruction traditional and site based, or is distance education the norm? 90% of our instructional delivery is at a distance. Remedial English and Math are campus based and enrollment management is handled by Continuing Education as well as some camps and institutes. 8. What assessment practices are used? Site-based faculty-lead instructors are evaluated using a USD approved faculty evaluation form. Training is evaluated using an instrument or survey developed by Continuing Education to evaluate if faculty/trainers/consultants and the program meet the learning outcomes. 9. How has this type of continuing education changed in the past decade, and what? changes are likely to occur into the next ten years? Technology and the Internet and the way we communicate and learn drive the greatest change. We need to assess the way people learn. Policies are changing to reflect the way we serve distance learners. These policies are being driven by the University system to bring all the universities into compliance. USD has been a leader in serving adult learners for many years. I think in the future we will see more students learning at a distance, but we will also continue to have students who desire to learn in a campus environment because of the experiential learning opportunities and the benefit of learning in a classroom with faculty. Also, the way people work and the need for continued learning will influence how faculty teaches and how colleges and universities extend the learning opportunities. Faculty will be challenged to stay knowledgeable about the changes in corporate America and in education. 10. What do you forecast to be the future of this activity? The continuing education will go on and on in the coming future. People can absorb and explore different knowledge field that they need by using some tools are convenient for them. Especially the time and place must be the serious and important factors to solve. However, such 739

10 a program exactly meets people s need accompanied by the progress of high technology. We can forecast there is more and more people are searching for easy way to achieve and satisfy their need. We cannot neglect the tendency of learning way by internet in modern society but to follow the traditional teaching way in school. To be the superintendent of school should focus on the innovation of education system and devote them to enter the field of technology. It s no doubt that we will foresee the bright side by advocating that activity as we wish. CONCLUSION This is a very good example and experience for our country to develop the continuing education. Also, it is an appropriate period time to develop and to do research how to integrate and share the resource of education. In these days, the institutions of higher education in Taiwan start to consist what was called as SCHOOL LEAGUE SYSTEM such as Taiwan United University System, Taiwan Normal Education System However, this is the preliminary stage for initiating different educational institutions after all. This kind of school policy needs more successful terms to learn and strategies to follow in order to establish a perfect and complete educational environment and directions. Besides, due to the change of school system, the students will be supposed to take any courses no matter where they are. In other words, it is not essential for students to join any class only on campus but they also can take another courses and admitted by those schools which related in the same group. This research will be a positive direction and nice model for certain schools which would like to reach the target of sharing the resource and reduce the cost of equipments by advancing their programs by way of internet learning. 740

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