The California State University is now offering a unique opportunity for undergraduates to earn their liberal studies degree through Liberal Studies Online, an online degree completion program for individuals working toward a California teaching credential. Administered through CSU Chico, online courses will originate from the Chico campus and CSU Sacramento. The first online courses will be available beginning fall 2001.

"Liberal Studies Online is part of a series of initiatives that reflect California State University's 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."

The majority of the Liberal Studies Online courses will be presented live, via streamed video over the Internet, allowing distance students to interactively participate in regularly scheduled classes as they are taught on campus. Many of the courses will also be digitally archived to allow participants an opportunity to view classes asynchronously at their convenience.

"Liberal Studies Online provides a link to the CSU for those who are restricted by work schedule, physical distance, or any other circumstance that prevents them from attending class on campus at a regularly scheduled time," said Bill Martin, program professor and adviser.

"For example, a U.S. soldier from Bosnia, who is a California resident, inquired about the program because he wanted to be an elementary school teacher by the end of his service term. This program is specifically designed for California residents to become California's teachers."

The program is designed for students who have two or more years of transferable college coursework, 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.

In addition, the program provides the necessary coursework for students to get their teaching credential. 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 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 Chico's Distance and Online Education's Website at , which hosts a variety of established online certificate, baccalaureate and master's degree programs. Through the Chico Distance and 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.

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 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 Website at liberalstudies.calstate.edu.

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Last Updated: June 2001

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