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WVU expands web learning opportunities

By Madison Fleck

West Virginia University is now offering more than 200 classes through Extended Learning's Continuing & Professional Education division. The classes are taught mostly online and offer an opportunity to students that other classes do not.

The classes are especially convenient to those working full or part-time jobs. The classes do not require the students to travel to an institution or even work on the class at a certain time. Students can work on the class at their own pace and receive aid from their instructors as needed.

There is no degree earned in the classes ranging in areas from business, education, health care, law, creative arts, engineering and forensic science. Instead, students learn a set of skills.

"At the end of the class, the students get a proof of completion," said Sherry Kuehn, program coordinator for WVU Continuing & Professional Education. "They can put it on their resume and say they have achieved this knowledge."

With three semesters a year and classes ranging from 10 to 200 students, the program stays in constant motion.

Students can learn how to open their own restaurant, design web pages, create an environmentally friendly lifestyle and prepare for upcoming tests like the GRE.

Depending on a student's area of work, the classes could be free. The forensic science department deals mainly with students already working in the field. For example, many crime scene investigators, laboratory technicians and lawyers take these classes.

"As long as they are in the state and local government, the classes are free to them," said Robin Bowen, assistant director of the Forensic Science Initiative at WVU.

"However, it is open to the general public, and there is a really broad demographic."

Classes can get up to the $1,000-range, but costs vary depending on the class.

"It is geared mostly to adult learners and professionals that need continued education in their field or are starting a new career or just want to learn something for their own benefit," Kuehn said.

The Forensic Science Initiative at WVU has moved from a research-based program to focusing more on continued education, and many groups use the classes to their advantage.

"Some agencies use the classes as part of their in-house training," Bowen said. "So it's either continued education or training depending on how the agencies want to use it."

Bowen is currently teaching ethics in forensic science and the fibers and textiles for forensic science.

"The thing with my ethics course is that it's now a requirement as part of accreditation for laboratories that the staff member need to have some sort of ethics training," she said.

"Sometimes an entire lab will take the ethics course to get their accreditation."

WVU's Continuing Education is open for registration year-round. Head to to browse the course catalogand register.



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