Technology is rapidly changing the business world. Team members are able to engage and productively collaborate with one another no matter where they are physically located. To foster a new generation of business leaders who are well-prepared to thrive in an online environment, Washington County Community College [WCCC] is now offering its popular Business Management program fully online.
While the program is coming into fruition during a time when working and learning from home is a necessity, it has been in the works for a while. Over the past several years, WCCC has been increasingly offering individual classes online to meet the needs of adult learners by providing flexible schedules.
The Business Management program saw rapid adoption when it began offering some of its classes online a few years ago. “Our online classes were full,” said instructor Rhonda French. “We had people from Cherryfield, Machias, and even out of state.”
With such an enthusiastic response, WCCC’s advisory board put together a proposal to the Maine Community College System for its entire program to be offered online. The proposal was approved in February and the program will be live in Fall 2020.
The online classes give students the ability to look at and respond to material on their own time, a situation that often works better for students who are simultaneously working and completing their degrees. “It’s so exciting,” French said. “This is opening opportunity for people.”
Each online class includes a lecture recorded during the live class for students to listen to. Support personnel and tutors are available for online students to help with challenging material or personal situations via remote video conferencing with Zoom. “They’re not going to be left out there alone behind their computer. They’ll have the support they need,” French said.
One of the key elements of the program’s Supervisory Management course traditionally has been service projects. For the past three to four years, students in the online version of the class have been remotely collaborating together to plan and develop service projects. Students can meet in groups of any size in a virtual classroom to conduct their meetings as the projects develop.
“It’s a great learning experience because that’s how business is done now,” French said, describing how modern business meetings often take place between people located all over the world. “They have to be very creative in planning their projects.”
The two-year program, which awards an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree once completed, has already attracted attention from area businesses. Banks and credit unions are interested in the opportunity for quality online professional development without interfering with business hours. Another major draw is WCCC’s tuition, which remains the lowest in the state at $94 a credit hour.
Once students attain their AAS from WCCC, their learning doesn’t have to stop there. Through an articulation agreement with the University of Maine at Augusta, students can transfer directly into the Business Administration program to complete their bachelor’s degree. “Someone can sit in Calais and get their whole business degree online,” French said.
WCCC is offering a special scholarship opportunity to both adult learners and former students who started taking classes at the college in the past but did not complete their degree. The scholarship, called Soaring Back, provides students with an additional $300 per semester on top of any federal grants or scholarships they are eligible for. More than 80 percent of WCCC’s students are eligible for Pell Grants.
For information on applying or returning to WCCC’s Business Management program, or scholarship opportunities, please contact Admissions at (207) 454-1000 or visit www.wccc.me.edu