HAGERSTOWN — Blake Wolfe is entering the homestretch to receive an associate degree in business administration this spring, a degree from Hagerstown Community College that she has been working toward online.
“I chose the online classes because it’s more up my alley,” Wolfe said recently. “I like to be able to do things on my own time and in a comfortable setting.”
The 21-year-old Hagerstown woman also has a job at The Airport Inn and takes other courses at University System of Maryland at Hagerstown as she works toward a bachelor’s degree.
Although Hagerstown Community College has been offering online courses for several years, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education recently gave the college approval to offer some programs of study completely online.
Available completely online are associate degrees in business administration, general studies and arts and sciences, along with several certificate and letters of recognition programs, according to a news release from the college.
The Middle States accreditation allows credits from online programs to be easily transferred to other colleges and universities, the college said. HCC also has a special arrangement with University of Maryland University College that allows HCC students to transfer all their online credits directly into UMUC’s online programs, the college said.
Many of the students studying for an associate degree in business administration are working toward a bachelor’s degree and the online credits are transferable to a four-year program, said Stacey McGee, an assistant professor of business at HCC.
“Most of our business classes have been offered online … for quite a while,” McGee said. They are particularly popular with working people and the online slots often fill more quickly than traditional classrooms, she said.
“We cap them off because, believe it or not, they’re a lot of work” for instructors, McGee said. There is, for example, a lot of interaction via email with students, she said.
Online classes are capped at about 25 students, McGee said.
For students already in the work force or who have families, online programs can allow them the flexibility to fit in more courses during a semester than if they had to take classes in a classroom setting, McGee said.
“I have people that go online at one in the morning to do their work,” McGee said.
“I could do my school work in my pajamas,” said Wolfe, who began taking some online college courses while still in high school.
She added that finding a parking space is never an issue online.
The college also offers a number of programs for which 75 percent of the course work is offered online, college spokeswoman Elizabeth Stull said.
Those include associate degrees in accounting, English, English education, history, history education, management and political science, according to the college’s news release.
“We are going to be having more and more programs that are 75 percent or 100 percent online,” Stull said.