INSIDE Chico State
0 November 6, 2001
Volume 32 Number 6
  A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
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Sergeant in Kosovo Attends CSU, Chico

Liberal Studies Online allows soldier to work on teaching credential from half a world away

Army Sergeant Jose Garcia

U.S. Army Sergeant José Garcia, stationed in Kosovo, studies for his education and psychology classes online. He is taking the courses through the new Liberal Studies Online program, launched this fall.

Earlier this year, U.S. Army Sergeant José Garcia searched the Internet for a program that would allow him to work toward a teaching degree online. He found the brand new Liberal Studies Online program offered by CSU, Chico exclusively for California residents working toward a teaching credential. As a resident of El Monte, California, Garcia was eligible to enter the program and begin his upper-division classes.

What makes Garcia different from his classmates in the liberal studies program is that he attends class while stationed at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, serving with the 11th Engineer Battalion in a peacekeeping deployment.

Liberal Studies Online is a new Web-based degree completion program for California residents working toward a baccalaureate degree in liberal studies and a California elementary teaching credential. The degree is administered through CSU, Chico with online course work available from CSU, Sacramento as well.

This semester Garcia was set up to take three courses: Psychology 141 from Andrea Pantoja, Education 102 from Devon Metzger, and Philosophy 146 from Tom Imhoff. Ideally, professors deliver courses using digital images, text, and streaming video and audio files. E-mail and instant messaging keep students in contact with their professors and with each other. Garcia experienced problems with the server being down and so has yet to begin work on Imhoff’s class.

Courses are also digitally archived to allow participants to view classes asynchronously at their convenience. Garcia attends archived classes in the evenings while fulfilling his role as a peacekeeper during the day. He takes tests online and receives his grades within a couple of days.

“This is a great opportunity for me,” Garcia said, “and I couldn’t have done it without the help of so many people. Bill Martin, who was the director of the liberal studies program, helped me create a career plan. Jeff Layne, program director for Chico Distance Online Education, was able to work out e-mailing me the course archives when WebCT was down. That enabled me to continue with my psych class. My teachers understood that being deployed in Kosovo, I was going to be tasked to military missions and that my work might not always meet the deadlines.”

For Sergeant Garcia, Liberal Studies Online represents a huge step toward fulfilling a dream he has had for 10 years: to become an elementary school teacher. “One of the best feelings is knowing that you have made a difference in a child’s life through teaching,” Garcia said. He has some experience teaching, having worked as an instructional assistant with children in grades one through six and in special education classes. Garcia expects to be well on his way to a liberal studies degree when he completes his army enlistment obligation in a year and a half.

“When Garcia enters the teaching profession, he will do so at a time when teachers are needed in California as never before. Liberal Studies Online provides more California students more opportunities to earn their teaching credential,” said Gina Johnston, coordinator of the program. “That students can even take classes while serving in the U.S. Army during a peacekeeping mission on the other side of the globe is nothing short of amazing to me.”}

Sandoval Chagoya, marketing assistant, Liberal Studies Online

 

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