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Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014

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The Online Bachelor Completion Program is a cooperation between OHIO and 11 community colleges.

Graphic courtesy of: Linda Lockhart

Bachelor completion banner

Graphic courtesy of: Linda Lockhart

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OHIO graduates first class of Online Bachelor Completion Program students

Class of 2010 finished degrees started at one of 11 community colleges


This week Ohio University will graduate its first class of students who have completed their degree through the Online Bachelor Completion Program. There are 22 students in the program’s class of 2010. 

The Online Bachelor Completion Program is an online degree program that allows students who have earned an associate degree at a community or technical college to take online courses in order to receive a bachelor’s degree from OHIO in one of three areas.

The degree programs include the, Bachelor of Technical and Applied Studies, for those who have completed an associate degree program in any technical field, Bachelor of Criminal Justice, and R.N. to B.S.N, for nurses who have received their R.N. certification and want to continue on to earn a bachelor’s in nursing.

Ohio University partners with 11 community colleges located in Ohio to make the program more accessible and seamless for students. In addition to transferring credits earned during their associate degree to OHIO, students can take part of the classes required in the program at the community college and part online from OHIO.

This particular degree program was the perfect fit for John Richardson, who attended Washington State Community College in Marietta, Ohio. 

“I had been looking for a bachelor's program that I could do online so I could fit it around my schedule. This program met all of the requirements I was looking for,” Richardson said. “There was no reason to say no. The degree will provide me opportunities for advancement in my career,” he added.

Ohio University’s online bachelor’s program makes it possible for people to attend and earn a degree from Ohio University who may not have been able to otherwise.  Many of the students completing the program have families, jobs or both, and cannot easily relocate to enroll in a bachelor degree program, Linda Lockhart, manager of communication for Outreach and the regional campuses,) said.

Online courses do not necessarily make going back and earning a degree easy.

“You definitely have to be a self-starter,” Keith Bernheisel, a 2007 Sinclair Community College graduate, said. “You can’t procrastinate with online courses or you won’t succeed.” 

Bernheisel was originally looking at programs through online, for-profit Capella University to complete his degree before his wife told him about the degree program at OHIO. 

“Ohio University was one of the three schools I applied to when I graduated from high school. It didn’t work out back then because I started working and had a career,” Bernheisel said. “I would love to have a degree from Ohio University and now I will.”

Both Richardson and Bernheisel agreed that the online experience was different from learning in a traditional classroom, but they didn’t get any less of an experience in terms of coursework and communication.

“The professors have been very helpful and accommodating,” Richardson said. “My wife and I had our second child while I was enrolled in this program and the professors were quite helpful during an incredibly busy and exciting time.”

Online learning has been a great experience, according to Bernheisel.

“I’ve met so many incredible people. There’ve been so many people who have helped me along the way, but I have to give a lot of credit to my wife [Janeil] for turning me on to the program in the first place,” Bernheisel said.

And, though the students have been attending OHIO from across the state, all the graduates are invited to attend and participate in the commencement ceremony.

“This is a very exciting time and it will be wonderful if all the graduates are able to attend commencement,” Lockhart said. “We congratulate each one of them, whether or not they come to Athens for the ceremony. Earning their bachelor’s from OHIO is a great accomplishment and it is an honor for me to be affiliated with a program that is making that possible for a greater number of students.”