LSU CC&E responds to digital lifestyles with new online offerings
In response to a high demand for online courses and digital education content, LSU’s College of the Coast & Environment is offering the online class, Introduction to Environmental Sciences, or ENVS 1126. This general education class in the natural sciences is open to all majors and is increasing in popularity. Class professor Crystal Johnson attributes its high enrollment to the fact that, as an online course, it helps traditional and non-traditional student accommodate their busy schedules.
“I’ve got stay-at-home moms. I’ve got athletes, people who travel a lot, and people who work full-time,” Johnson said.
Johnson has refined the logistics of the class to accommodate all types of students in unique circumstances. For example, in a previous semester, a student who worked as a flight attendant explained that it was difficult to stream the course content as she frequently stayed in different hotels across the globe that had unreliable wireless internet access. Now, Johnson’s course materials are downloadable and accessible offline.
“Another interesting factoid was, last summer, I had a student taking the class from the middle of a farm in Texas. He said, ‘I'm listening to your lecture on my breaks while sitting on a tractor.’ That was pretty fun to know that my course is so available to such a variety of people,” Johnson said.
In addition to being more convenient and flexible than other classes, students taking online classes do not have to sacrifice the hands-on learning experiences that are the cornerstone of CC&E’s undergraduate curriculum. Johnson incorporates independent research into the syllabus, such as one experiment in which students must find a tree near them and measure the circumference of that tree at chest height in order to determine its impact on the student's personal carbon footprint.
Online Master’s in Environmental Sciences
The overwhelmingly positive response to the online Introduction to Environmental Sciences course has inspired the college’s Department of Environmental Sciences to create an online master’s program in environmental sciences. This 12- to 15-month program will be available through LSU Online this August. It will be the same master’s program that environmental sciences students have been taking all along with the same prerequisites and requirements, only now they have the option of earning their degree entirely on the internet.
In an increasingly digital age, LSU’s innovative online courses, such as ENVS 1126, will offer students greater flexibility in how they learn and grow without sacrificing the quality education students expect from a flagship university.
Published: February 21, 2019