Class schedules for Fort Hays State University's Virtual College will henceforth be as virtual as the classes themselves. "A Tiger's Guide to the Virtual College" replaces the printed schedule of classes for the Virtual College.
While the Virtual College will still produce a variety of printed materials, it will no longer print class schedules. Instead, Tiger's Guide is 48 pages of information on how to find the information needed to plan and carry out an educational program through the Virtual College, which delivers courses through the Internet, CD-ROM, DVD, Internet Protocol Television and videotape. Every page of the guide has contact information -- Web sites, e-mail addresses, phone numbers or street addresses.
"This directs students to the right information," said Dennis King, director of the Virtual College and learning technologies. "Tiger's Guide basically tells you where the information is and how to get it."
The problem with printed class schedules, said King, was that they were outdated even before they came off the press. This is because classes fill quickly and new sections have to be added and new courses are constantly being developed.
The book has five main sections:
--"Getting Started" covers basics such as the academic calendar, admission requirements, a guide to find the Schedule of Classes online, registration and enrollment options, information on tuition and fees and where to find information on scholarships and financial aid.
--"Degrees and Certificates" has a degree-planning worksheet and descriptions of the general education requirements and individual degree and certificate programs offered through the college.
--"Student Services" carries information on academics, policies, procedures, advising, adding and withdrawing courses, online tutoring and academic support, off-campus IPTV locations and contact information for the call centers.
--"Frequently Asked Questions" covers many of the basics again, but in a brief Q&A format.
--"Course Resources" covers the new Web portal, TigerTracks; Blackboard, the Web-based course delivery software; e-mail; library services; course delivery methods; and approval forms and information for test proctors.
King said the idea with Tiger's Guide is that a copy will be sent to every student enrolled in the Virtual College, and this copy will be good for the duration of the student's educational program. That will probably not happen with this first issue, but soon, he said.
The primary objective of the new publication, said King, is to give students up-to-date, correct information at all times. The printed schedules of classes were almost always outdated before they even came off the printing presses, because of additions and other changes to classes that are a constant of higher education because of enrollment pressure and patterns.
One useful purpose that was served by the printed schedules will now be served by postcards and other promotional items.
"One thing the printed schedules did was remind people that it's time to start thinking about enrolling for the next semester," said King. "Now we will use postcards and other promotions to remind them, since they won't be getting new schedules in the mail."