Oct. 23, 2008
MUW to graduate first group of online business students
By Jill D. O’Bryant
COLUMBUS, Miss. -- For Cassondra Buford of Biloxi, getting a four-year college degree was a dream that might have been difficult to attain due to family obligations, but Mississippi University for Women is helping make that dream a reality through its 2 + 2 Online Business Administration Degree Program in General Business.
She and a handful of other students are scheduled to be the first at MUW to complete this program, which began in 2006. The participants complete the first two years of college at a community college before enrolling at MUW to complete the last two years completely online.
“Like a lot of college students today, I am a nontraditional student,” Buford said. “As a mother of two little boys, this program allows me to stay at home with my children and finish my degree online. It is very difficult balancing it all, and it helps that I can do all my classes online. The best part is I can even take my tests from the comfort of home as well.
“I would recommend it for anyone really, not just nontraditional students. The instructors all give great notes and are very encouraging and do not mind helping you in any way.”
The general business concentration is designed for students desiring a broad understanding of business. Students learn how to problem solve and provide managerial solutions for daily business decisions.
Students are provided many course options for their 18 hours of business electives which allows students to better match their career interests and job opportunities. Courses range from health care management to internet marketing to C++ programming language.
“Many students prefer a general business program rather than a specialization because they have more flexibility in choosing courses that apply to their particular career interests and areas of expertise within a business field,” said Dr. Joyce Hunt, interim dean of the College of Business and Legal Studies. “Graduates will be equipped with a broad skill set to be considered for a wide variety of positions in the dynamic, global business environment and will be prepared for further study in graduate and professional programs.”
In addition to the online general business concentration, the College of Business and Legal Studies also offers online minors in general business, management and management information systems. The College plans to put online in the near future the entrepreneurship concentration, the management concentration and the marketing concentration and minor.
Hunt said offering courses, minors and programs electronically is a planned growth opportunity to provide MUW with another means to reach Mississippi’s population at times that are convenient to the learners.
“Distance learning has brought a new perspective to higher education because it has dramatically increased access and opportunities for learning,” she said. “The online programs allow greater accessibility to larger numbers of students than the traditional classroom offerings by allowing students to take courses anywhere there is an internet connection and a computer.
“Scheduling problems, geographic limitations, commuting costs and childcare concerns are no longer barriers. Having this type of accessibility to higher education is a way to motivate students and professionals to complete degree requirements, enhance their skills and explore new personal development and recreational opportunities.”
Students who participate in this program do benefit from the flexibility, but they don’t lose the personal touch MUW prides itself in offering to traditional classroom students, Hunt said.
“Our business and legal studies classes are kept relatively small, which allows professors to correspond more frequently with those students on an individual basis,” she said. “Timely and frequent feedback about student progress allows necessary interaction to foster understanding and application of material.
“Because most of our online classes are taught by full-time faculty, students have additional access to faculty for office and telephone conferences. In addition, several of our professors reserve a late afternoon time slot on a weekly basis for online students to receive additional individual or group assistance.”
Just like in the classroom, Hunt said the professors provide instruction that includes activities that engage students in active learning. A variety of resources such as videos and CDs also are used in addition to the usual online resources to provide students with multiple learning paths to enrich course content.
All business programs at MUW are accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs, and the Paralegal Program is accredited by the American Bar Association. For more information about the programs in the College of Business and Legal Studies, please call 662-329-7152 or visit