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In new online learning era, Auburn’s Bachelor of Computer Science gets high marks from graduates

By Brian Wesley

Published: May 8, 2020 11:23:00 AM

Auburn University's online Bachelor of Computer Science program, established in 2018, has now graduated two classes. Auburn University's online Bachelor of Computer Science program, established in 2018, has now graduated two classes.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, online learning has become critical for higher education institutions across the nation. As Auburn University faces this unprecedented situation and transitions to remote teaching and learning, the university’s online Bachelor of Computer Science degree program is a shining example of an effective and dynamic online learning environment.

Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the program is an interdisciplinary learning experience offered entirely online that allows students to graduate in as few as two years. With an emphasis on both theoretical computer science and application of learned skills, the online BCS program offers courses on a wide range of topics, including information technology, operating systems, database management, web and mobile app development, network platforms and computer network design.

“There are several advantages to the program,” said Richard Chapman, director of the online Bachelor of Computer Science program. “Foremost, I would say that a student is not limited by time and space the way on-campus students are limited. You can do the work when and where it is convenient for you. Many of our students have families or full-time jobs or both, and for them, it is not really practical to pull up stakes and move to Auburn and attend classes during the weekdays.

“Another advantage is being able to leverage the college coursework you already have taken; most of our students already have a bachelor’s degree, so they can complete this program in as little as two years. Finally, for our out-of-state students, the tuition is substantially lower for this program.”

April Hall with her nephews
April Hall with her nephews

Two graduating classes have now finished the online BCS program. April Hall, one of the first graduating students in December 2019, describes her experience with the program as rewarding.

“Completing this degree entirely online was an interesting challenge,” Hall said. “I previously earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education math from the University of North Alabama back in 2013, so I knew that this degree was going to be a lot of work and take discipline on my part to log on every day. This program allowed me the opportunity to work on my degree on my schedule while still working full time as a high school AP math teacher. Overall, it was an amazing and challenging experience.”

Clemence Kayembe, a May graduate of the online BCS program, felt fully engaged with her fellow students and the faculty even at a distance. She highlighted the support of professor Saad Biaz, in particular.

“It was hard at first because I was going to be learning my class entirely online while also being a foreign student whose first language is not English, but I was surprised to notice how much help I received from my professors, my assistant teachers and even my classmates,” Kayembe said. “I never felt like I was missing something compared to those that were actually attending classes in person. … I never felt left out, not even for a second.”

While going through the program, Kayembe received a promotion and other advancement opportunities in her company’s IT department. Now, she feels even more prepared to take her career to the next level.

Clemence Kayembe
Clemence Kayembe

In addition to the online BCS program, the university provides several avenues for students to receive support in their online learning. All students can participate in the New Student Online Orientation, which covers helpful topics for navigating the online classroom. Both admissions and academic advisors are also available to provide guidance as students progress through the program.

“Online education is an increasingly important part of the mission of all American universities, and with the recent pandemic, that importance only increases,” Chapman said. “Computer science is particularly well-suited for online education, so it makes sense for it to be one of the first degrees to be available this way, but over time I think, as the problems with things such as lab experiences and group projects are solved, virtually all disciplines will include online education as one of their options. Hopefully, some of what we have learned can be useful as other degree programs begin to be offered online.”

Find admissions and program information, including the curriculum and tuition rates, on the online BCS website. Prospective students can also request more information here.

Media Contact: Chris Anthony, chris.anthony@auburn.edu, 334.844.3447

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