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Category: Blog: Online Degrees @ DWU

DWU’s Highly Effective, Engaging Online RN to BSN Program

Monday, March 31, 2014

Much has changed in the world of technology since Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU) first attempted to deliver an online RN-Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program back in 2007. Due to technological and infrastructure limitations at the time, the program had both traditional face-to-face and online formats instead of the fully online option busy adult learners really needed.

Flash-forward to 2013 when DWU launched its degree completion program for registered nurses with associate’s degrees. DWU successfully accomplished its goal to deliver a streamlined program focused on the needs and wants of adult learners.

“The program is very user friendly for students,” said RN-B.S. Program Director Diane Sandhoff, who has been with DWU for 25 years. “It fits their lifestyle. They feel like they can succeed.”Program Director Diane Sandhoff

All required courses for DWU’s RN-B.S. nursing program are offered online. Through the program, which can be completed in just 14 months, students gain technical nursing abilities and build on their critical thinking, problem-solving and communication skills—all of which are essential for nurses

“We believe nursing is an art and a science,” Sandhoff said. “Our program focuses more on the soul.”

Our RN-B.S. nursing program also offers:

  • A strong ethical foundation, built on Christian values
  • Accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and full approval by the South Dakota Board of Nursing
  • Core nursing courses that focus on:

o   Enhancing skills in leadership and management

o   Decision making and problem solving

o   Nursing research and evidence-based practice

o   Health promotion

o   Health assessment

o   Service to community

o   In-depth study of pharmacology

o   Care of families, populations and communities 

As Sandhoff points out, “The whole trajectory of nursing has changed from the traditional bedside nurse to something that is so much more broad. Careers in healthcare are being developed that we haven’t even considered yet.”

DWU, then, must prepare future nurses who are good thinkers, adaptable, flexible, open to new ideas, and believe in the value of lifelong learning.

If you are considering this degree, you might be concerned about your ability to succeed. Please know that the support—and encouragement—is there for you. The DWU program is demanding, yes, but it is also manageable, thanks to eight-week sessions with two courses at a time for full-time students.

Another plus: We also offer a May start so you do not have to wait for a traditional fall semester start.

DWU understands that sometimes life gets in the way of your best intentions. So if you get into the program and must step out for a time, our online program offers you that flexibility. Stepping out is nearly impossible in a traditional 16-week session.

To learn more, please contact Amber Turner, our DWU online admissions counselor.

We look forward to hearing from you.



Dr. Derek Driedger
Associate Dean of Digital Learning 
at Dakota Wesleyan University


CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU,

Developing DWU’s Distinctive M.B.A. Program

Monday, March 17, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University's Dr. Marty BohrerWhen Dakota Wesleyan University set out to establish an M.B.A. degree program, we wanted to create a distinctive program driven by the wants and needs of students. We wanted to adapt to them, not the other way around.

In creating our M.B.A. in Strategic Leadership, we did just that—and the program development continues. Since launching our M.B.A. program six months ago, we have continued to listen to our students and to make changes to our program accordingly.

We continually ask our students for input—and then we listen. After each eight-week session, faculty survey students. They then tweak class formats, coursework and curriculum based on that feedback. We also alert upcoming instructors of a particular cohort’s needs or patterns.

By working together, DWU faculty, administrators and students have created a nimble and relevant M.B.A. The program especially focuses on:

  • Future preparation—We develop strategic thinkers and problem solvers who can lead, whether they are running their own business or are at the helm of a small- to mid-sized company right here in the Midwest or across the country
  • The real world—Our professors do not just preach business theory—they have lived it and bring that experience to the classroom
  • Connections—Our faculty are well connected and they use those connections—here in South Dakota and beyond—to help our students gain real-world experiences that can lead to rewarding careers
  • Entrepreneurship—We give our students the tools, skills and knowledge they need to be entrepreneurial thinkers who are capable, confident and creative enough to develop, launch and grow their own businesses
  • Faith—We bring the Bible into discussions about today’s business world, especially when it comes to talking about ethical decision-making

If you are looking for a distinctive M.B.A. program to prepare you for your business future, I invite you to directly email Dr. Monty Bohrer, the director of our business graduate program. Or fill out a short form to request more information.





Dr. Derek Driedger
Associate Dean of Digital Learning 
at Dakota Wesleyan University




CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU,

Challenges of Online Learning: A Student’s Perspective

Monday, March 3, 2014

They say life is what happens when you are busy making plans.

In Fredel Thomas’ case, life is precisely what happened because she was happy with her current plan.

“I was perfectly happy where I was in my career,” says Thomas, executive director of the Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship at Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU).

She did not seek out promotions at CHR Solutions -- the telecommunications company where she worked for a decade first as an intern, then programmer, sales and quality assurance and finally as the director of project management -- but they were presented anyway.

“It was not something I ever looked to leave,” says Thomas, who applied for an adjunct position at DWU, but ended up joining the university’s entrepreneurial center as a resource for the community and full-time faculty member.

As the Executive Director of the Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship at Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU) Fredel Thomas is back in the classroom. She's also a full time student in the university's online M.B.A. program.“I didn’t even know a job like that existed,” she says. “When they started to talk to me about the job, everything kind of changed. I just thought ‘Oh my goodness, I can be passionate about my faith here,’ I get to go into the classroom. I get to tell them what it means to me.”

Just more than a year after joining the faculty at DWU, Fredel is back in the classroom in another way, too. This time it is a virtual one. She is a full-time student in DWU’s online strategic leadership M.B.A. program.

Getting her M.B.A. wasn’t part of the plan either.

Throughout her career she had watched co-workers and friends struggle to pursue their master’s degrees while juggling families and full-time jobs.

“I thought, I am so glad that I’m never going to do that,” she says.

"Two factors changed Thomas’ mind: DWU’s fully online courses and the option to complete the program in one year.

Fredel Thomas was drawn to Dakota Wesleyan University's online M.B.A. program because it incorporated into her already busy professional and family life.Because the courses are 100 percent online, she can complete assignments at night and on the weekends, with her kids coloring next to her at the kitchen table. There is no commute to classes or set time to log on and listen to live lectures.

“It is a huge benefit to be able to sit down and do my studies when it works best for my entire family,” she says.

And because she opted to go back to school full time, taking two classes each session, she’ll be done in one year.

Thomas says she debated going part-time, taking just one class each session. Knowing that she could scale back at any point helped her decide to jump in feet first.

“I was not sure when I started the program. I’m glad I went full time,” she says. “I can do this. The second eight weeks, I thought, ‘Oh dear, can I really do this?’ But I made it through. The one year really does keep me motivated.”

That’s not to say there haven’t been challenges. The first few weeks of each eight-week session have been rough.

“It is a lot of work and it is hard work,” she says. “I know the first two weeks of each course are going to be stressful while I’m trying to figure out the flow of the class and balance the workload. I sleep a little less. I read a lot.”

There have been other challenges, too, like relearning how to write for class assignments.

“I’ve done a lot of writing in my professional career. Academic and professional writing are different styles,” says Thomas.

Being part of a new program has its benefits as professors try new approaches to see what works the best.

Thomas, for example, has a professor this session who provides videos of recorded lectures. That approach has opened more of a dialog with students and allowed them to see their professor’s facial expressions and to hear him crack jokes.

“Dialog is a different thing,” she says. “There’s something that it adds.”

The relationships she’s developed with classmates have enhanced her experience as well. Not only are they learning together, they are learning from each other. With 13 years in business behind her, Thomas has more experience than recent graduates enrolled in the M.B.A., but that’s a good thing, she says.

Hearing from students in different industries and with different experience levels allows for a richer experience. 

“One woman is an entrepreneur three times over; another student sells fruit. Some work for slightly larger businesses,” she says. “It opens your eyes to other issues. I can learn from their industries and experiences.”

Fredel Thomas was drawn to Dakota Wesleyan University's online M.B.A. program because its courses focus on faith.She also appreciates that courses are designed for business professionals in small-to-medium companies with a focus on faith. 

“That was very important to me,” she says. “It would be hard for me to separate that. I have a huge appreciation that they bring that into the classroom.”  

Now, halfway to graduation, she’s glad she made the commitment to herself, her career and future.  

“Everyone is benefiting,” she says. “It comes into play every day of my life. We talk about a topic and all of a sudden in my board meeting, I can speak on that topic with more educated responses than the week before.” 

Sounds like a plan.


Want to learn more about Fredel Thomas' experience? Email her at frthomas@dwu.edu


CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU,

Benefits of Online Learning

Monday, February 17, 2014

As a recent graduate or a professional seeking advancement, Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU) knows you manage many responsibilities each day.


That is why the online M.B.A. and RN-B.S. programs at DWU were designed to blend into your existing schedule.


The greatest benefit of taking online courses from DWU is the flexibility. When and how long you log on is completely up to you.  You can choose to log in for five minutes to check messages before work or wait and devote a few hours after the kids go to sleep.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
While you complete your coursework, you will join a peer cohort, which posts messages in online chat groups and completes team assignments. With a diverse group of students, you will have ample opportunity to share real-world experiences. You may even take classes alongside leaders who have achieved success in the position you’re pursuing.

Online courses at DWU were designed to alleviate several other concerns associated with returning to the classroom. You don’t need to commute or take night classes.  You can edit answers before clicking submit; analyze and even research another student’s response before contributing your own.  In online courses you don’t need to be nervous about interacting with a professor face-to-face.

Our online professors empathize with students balancing busy lives. Like you, they juggle the online program in addition to other professional responsibilities. Our professors were selected to teach these courses for their professional and academic achievements, but they were also chosen due to their ability to motivate and support students.


When thinking about how an online degree might fit into your long-term schedule, know that the decision to take one or two courses each eight-week session is also yours. If you enroll and you need a break, take a semester or more off without any repercussions.


We give credit for hard work, too. Applicants to the RN-B.S. program can receive credit toward their degree for hours worked up to 12 credits or 1,500 hours. If you are interested in our RN-B.S. program, please contact us to request more information.


We respect your time. To find out more, register for one of our 30-minute M.B.A. Info Webinars.





Dr. Derek Driedger
Associate Dean of Digital Learning 
at Dakota Wesleyan University



CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU,

This is What Online Learning Looks Like at DWU

Monday, February 3, 2014

As you consider pursuing your online degree at Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU), you might be wondering, quite literally, “What does online learning look like at DWU?"

Let me walk you through what you can expect.

After you log into the Digital (Virtual) Campus from our website dwu.edu, you will then go to the “My Courses Dashboard” screen to access your courses, due dates, and recent messages. Once you click on a course, you will see the page is divided up into three areas. The far left side of the screen has all of your course information, such as syllabus, readings, assignments, etc. 

Orientation Course

The center area describes the learning activities. You can print PDFs of the syllabus and the assignments—many of our students appreciate this feature. Content is also delivered via podcasts, videos, PowerPoint presentations, and Flash animation. 

You will find the pages easy to understand and navigate. Our clearly displayed learning outcomes make sure you understand what the professor expects.

You can also post questions at the bottom of any screen and the professor’s answer will appear there, too. When you post a question or participate in a forum discussion, your name and photo will appear. The same is true for your professors and classmates.

Student / Professor Exchange

On the far right you will see announcements and messages. You can also see who is currently online and you can instant message with them. You can also post to the “coffeehouse,” which is an open-ended forum generally used for socializing or encouragement. 

You will learn with a cohort, meaning that you will move through your program with many of the same students. You will quickly develop a supportive community, celebrating successes and helping each other through any challenges—in the classroom or in life. 

If at any point you have technical difficulties or any other questions or concerns, you can reach out to your professor—or the help desk—and ask for assistance. All are very responsive.

Still have questions or concerns about how your courses will work? That’s okay. Our orientation, offered three weeks before class starts, will take you through everything you need to know to succeed in your online degree program at DWU. 

If you would like to find out more about our fully online M.B.A. program, I invite you to register for one of our 30-minute M.B.A. Info Webinars. If you are interested in our RN-B.S. program, please contact us to request more information




Dr. Derek Driedger
Associate Dean of Digital Learning 
at Dakota Wesleyan University




CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU,

Why Choose DWU for Online Learning?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

You have many options when pursuing your degree online. Here are 10 reasons you should choose Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU) for your fully online Master of Business Administration and RN-Bachelor of Science nursing degree:

  1. High-touch support: From the time you first connect with DWU to the day you earn your degree, you will have the support you need—when you need it—from our admissions staff to our Digital Learning Support Specialist.
  2. Timely orientation: Our orientation is offered three weeks before class starts so that all of your questions and concerns about online learning are out of the way, leaving you to focus on coursework from day one.
  3. Highly interactive: You will not be listening to pre-recorded lectures and taking online quizzes. Instead, learning is active—and interactive. You will participate in a lot of forum discussions.
  4. Timely feedback: When you submit an assignment you won’t feel like you are tossing your work into a black hole. Your professors will respond—with individual comments—in a timely fashion. Learning objectives are clear—and you will always know where you stand, grade-wise. 
  5. Community focused: You will often take your coursework and put it to work in the community through projects you propose—and execute.
  6. Responsive: We are small enough—and personal enough—that we will respond to your feedback, questions and concerns in 24 hours or less.
  7. Cohort learning: You will join a group of learners when you start your studies and move along through your program of study together. You can support one another—in the classroom, within the Digital Campus, and in life. 
  8. Relevant coursework: Your courses are designed for adult learners like you so that you gain the skills, leadership development and knowledge you need to excel in your career. 
  9. Access to information: Like our on-campus students, you can access all our library databases, from academic journals to videos. 
  10. Focus on your strengths: We use the Clifton StrengthsFinder, an online personality inventory, to highlight and develop your greatest talents so you can achieve academic, personal and professional success. 

Learn for yourself why DWU is the ideal place for you to pursue your online degree. If you are interested in our M.B.A. program, please register for one of our 30-minute M.B.A. Info Webinars. Prospective RN-B.S. students: Please contact us to request more information




Dr. Derek Driedger
Associate Dean of Digital Learning 
at Dakota Wesleyan University




CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU,

Introducing: “Online Degrees @ DWU” Blog

Friday, January 10, 2014

I am happy to introduce Dakota Wesleyan University’s new blog: “Online Degrees @ DWU.”
Here we will:

  • Share news and information about our new online programs;
  • Introduce you to our online faculty;
  • Share our student stories and their online learning experiences;
  • Answer your questions about our online programs; and
  • Address your concerns and help ease any anxiety you might have about online learning—or returning to school.

At DWU, we are excited about this online endeavor, which grew out of the accreditation process. When DWU was challenged to choose one new venture to deliver education in a different way, we knew offering online degrees was the route we wanted to go. We listened to the needs of our community and alumni in choosing to offer two fully online degree programs: The Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) and the RN-Bachelor of Science nursing degree (RN-B.S.)

Through these programs, busy adults can earn their degrees while juggling families and careers so that they can take on leadership roles with their current employer—or move on to new career opportunities. They will build on their previous education—and will even earn credit for their work experience. 

It has taken a tremendous team effort at DWU to bring these online degree offerings to fruition. In true DWU fashion, the team demonstrated how truly dedicated it is to enriching the student experience and making this transition as smooth as possible for students.

We are excited—about these new online degrees and about this blog. Through “Online Degrees @ DWU,” we want to engage in a conversation with you. If you have any questions or comments or just want to know what is going on at DWU in general, we invite you to share a comment. 

If you are interested in our M.B.A. in Strategic Leadership, I invite you to register for one of our 30-minute M.B.A. Info Webinars. If you are interested in our RN-B.S., please contact us to request more information

Dr. Derek Driedger, Associate Dean of Digital Learning at Dakota Wesleyan University 

By Dr. Derek Driedger
Associate Dean of Digital Learning
at Dakota Wesleyan University


CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU,



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Dakota Wesleyan University was named to the 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
Dakota Wesleyan University is proudly affiliated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Members of any and all faiths are welcome and encouraged to experience an education based on learning, leadership, faith and service.
Dakota Wesleyan University has been honored as a College of Distinction through demonstration of excellence in these areas: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant communities and successful outcomes.
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