Utah State University is among nine colleges banding together to offer the nation's first bachelor's degree that can be earned entirely by watching classes on cable TV.
The National Universities Degree Consortium, of which USU is a member, announced Thursday at the National Press Club that the new program leading to a bachelor's degree in management will be available beginning next fall.The degree will be awarded through the University of Maryland and distributed to cable and satellite systems through the Mind Extension University cable network - which currently is available in cable systems reaching 11 million people.
Other universities assisting in providing classes for the program are Colorado State, Kansas State, the University of New
Orleans, the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, the University of South Carolina and Washington State.
Bartell Jensen, vice president for research at USU, said each of the universities contributes some classes to the program so that such programs do not become overly burdensome for any of them.
"Utah State as a land grant college has a long history of trying to provide education in rural areas away from campus, and this continues that effort," Jensen said.
While the first degree will technically be offered through the University of Maryland, "All the other universities in the consortium will soon offer degrees in other programs also," said Paul Hamblin, a University of Maryland administrator.
Jensen said offering such a total-cable-TV degree at USU is still in the planning stages, "but I suspect we will offer it within two or three years."
Glen R. Jones, chairman of the Mind Extension University cable network, said, "Students no longer have to sacrifice jobs or travel great distances to go to school. . . . The nine universities in this program are in the very vanguard of change."
Greg Liptak, president of Mind Extension, added that half of all students in higher education nationwide already attend part time because of the high cost of school and the need for jobs. He said only 15 percent of the high school graduates of 1980 were able to earn bachelor's degrees by attending college full time for four straight years.
"With the use of video cassette recorders, this program allows students to attend class whenever it is most convenient," he said.
The Mind Extension University network also broadcasts courses leading to a master's in business administration from Colorado State.
More information about the new bachelor's program can be obtained by calling Mind Extension University at 1-800-777-MIND. Tuition costs $176 per credit hour. A minimum of 120 semester hours is needed for a degree.
Officials said a student who had already earned 60 semester hours in a university who takes another two courses a semester on TV would need about three years to finish a degree.
Jensen said Utah State for years has successfully offered video and extension course around the state. In fact, the director of such services, Glen Wilde, is currently in the Soviet Union showing officials there how Utah State operates its programs.