There are many benefits to an online degree, but there’s something special about stepping foot on campus once in a while. That’s one reason why a handful of OU Extended Campus students took a week off work to come to Norman for a five-day, on-site seminar course held over the summer.
Nine students, most of whom are in the OU Extended Campus leadership studies program, came from near and far to complete the Race and Juvenile Crime in America course taught by instructors Paul Ketchum and Mitch Peck.
“We’ve been able to network, make friendships and get the real college experience. While the course is intensive because it’s a short format, we’ve been able to laugh, have tough conversations and learn together. It’s an experience that will bond us for life.” - Shannon Powers
Instructors said on-site courses give students an opportunity to participate on campus and interact face-to-face with classmates and faculty. Students appreciate the courses for those reasons, but also for the opportunity to quickly knock out a three-hour elective.
Samira Grove, a criminal investigator with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, cut short a European vacation to take the class. She said seeing the university in person for the first time left her in awe. Every OU Extended Campus student should attend an on-site class if they have the chance, she said.
“The class is directly related to what I do, but I jumped at the opportunity to complete a three-hour class in five days,” Grove said. “We want the classes to be interesting and relevant, and this class not only gives us the content, but also the chance to get it done quicker. You get an opportunity to meet fellow students, collaborate and exchange ideas.”
Grove said being on campus made her genuinely feel like an OU student.
“I didn’t have the opportunity to come to college out of high school, and this gives me a little bit of that experience,” Grove said. “The course is more meaningful when you have the opportunity to interact with the instructors, the campus is amazing and your learning experience is far greater.”
Shannon Powers said being in a classroom with fellow students and discussing the course topics face-to-face was priceless, because that’s something you just don’t get in online classes.
“We’ve been able to network, make friendships and get the real college experience,” Powers said. “While the course is intensive because it’s a short format, we’ve been able to laugh, have tough conversations and learn together. It’s an experience that will bond us for life.”
Dana Brooke said she took the class solely because it could be completed in five days, but she came away with much more.
“When you sign up for a five-day, eight-hour class, you really have no idea what to expect, but this class surpassed any expectation I had,” she said. “It’s been amazing. The instructors are amazing. Not only was the topic very interesting, the instructors were awesome. It’s the best class I’ve ever taken, by far.”
The students unanimously agreed they’d welcome more opportunities to take seminar classes on campus, and they would even love the option to stay in the dorms next time.
“This is a great facility, and campus is beautiful. It’s much nicer than I expected,” Powers said. “Just being able to come here – see the campus and interact with others – it was a great experience. We are begging for more opportunities like this.”
Ketchum said it’s his intention to make that happen.
“We definitely plan on bringing more opportunities like this to our students,” he said.
Are you interested in taking an on-site seminar course? Talk to your advisor about future opportunities.