SGA’s weekly meeting discusses new online program: eCore to arrive in 2015

By Llana Samuel, Staff Writer

Student Government Association meetings, although open to the student population, aren’t always on the top of students’ to-do lists, especially with finals on the horizon. However, with advisement for spring and summer 2015 underway and registration set to open soon, this past SGA meeting, held on Oct. 27, was an essential meeting to attend.

The burning question that is what will become of flex funds took a backseat during the SGA meeting to discuss eCore, an online program used by many colleges in the University System of Georgia, and it is coming to Armstrong in 2015.

The online program will be available to students in SHIP and is expected to be 40-50 percent cheaper than current online classes which average $226 per credit hour for undergraduate courses and $400 per credit hour for graduate courses.

Not only will the cheaper price options encourage students to take more online classes, the fact that more core classes will be offered online will aid students who usually miss out on core classes during registration.

“I can tell you the faculty does not like it” said SGA President, Cassian Nunez during the meeting. Nunez went on to state that the faculty believes that eCore “takes away some of the autonomy” that Armstrong would have to create a curriculum. This concern may also strike students who would normally be able to physically visit a professor from an online course with concerns as they will not be taught solely by Armstrong professors, but by any professor within the USG who is qualified to teach through eCore.

Meeting minutes from a faculty senate in 2010 show that retention rates of students in the eCore program went up to 89 percent after faculty were given three week training sessions prior to teaching the online courses. Students who enrolled in the program were given orientations before utilizing eCore. If the fee difference is anything to go by, retention rates could be fairly similar for Armstrong students.

“It was a little hard to find core classes online so it would most definitely help if there were more core classes online” said Laney Thompson, a student at Armstrong who took online classes while living in Orlando and working with the Disney College Program.

While it is not yet known how eCore will be separated from normal classes offered at Armstrong, students can expect to hear more about it in the coming months.