AACC offers 15 AA degrees completely online


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Most of AACC’s 15 all-online degrees are in business management, English, gender and sexuality studies, information systems, psychology and transfer studies.

Johannes Haasbroek, Editor-in-Chief

AACC started offering 15 associate degrees completely online this semester. 

Five more could be available by next fall, according to Vice President for Learning Mike Gavin. 

Most of the all-online degrees are in business management, English, gender and sexuality studies, information systems, psychology and transfer studies. 

Two cybersecurity degrees will be available online once the Maryland Higher Education Commission approves them. 

“In January of 2020, I set the direction that we were going to have our top 20 enrolled programs fully online for students where possible,” Gavin explained. “The goal was to have those 20 programs by fall of ’21 fully online.” 

Gavin said the college had planned to offer online degrees even before the pandemic forced administrators to close the campus in March. 

Face-to-face sections of courses in the virtual degree majors will also be available once the campus reopens, Dr. Colleen Eisenbeiser, dean of AACC’s Virtual Campus, said.     

“Right now, we’re limited on flexibility due to the [COVID-19] situation, but we want students to have the option” to complete their degrees on campus, she explained. “Some students are better learning face-to-face and we want students to have that chance if that is their choice.” 

Some faculty said they are in favor of all-online degrees. 

“I like the excitement of reaching more students,” architecture and landscape professor Robert Lowe said. “As a community college, we’re open access. For many students, [we’re] the first post-secondary education experience that they have.” 

Lawrie Gardner, the business administration department chair, agreed. 

“I think it’s a nice option for students that aren’t able to come to school” physically, she said.  That “way … they can finish their education because otherwise I think a lot of people would miss out.” 

Still, Gardner said she prefers teaching in person. 

“I am a people person,” she explained. “That’s why I like to be face to face with my students so I try to create an environment where I can kind of get to know at least some of my online students. I don’t like the anonymity of [online teaching.]” 

Some students said they might take the college up on the offer to pursue an online degree. 

“A full degree online with even more online courses, I believe … will be the next step of education at AACC,” Raffaella Picariello, a second-year business administration student, said.  

First-year business administration student Taylor Toman disagreed. 

“I think just because it being my first year of college … I prefer it to be a little bit more interactive in person,” she explained. “But I think that would be a good solution to maybe someone who is already working a full-time job and has already entered the workforce and is no longer in the general age of when you first begin to go to college.”