CORVALLIS, Ore. - Graduating from college is quite the accomplishment - especially if you have never set foot on campus.
Dirk Gard, 44, is an Oregon State University student living in Wyoming. He knew he needed to finish his education if he wanted to further his career.
"I needed more," Gard says, "and at that point in your life you're not able to just drop everything and start attending classes on campus."
Then he discovered OSU's Extended Campus program. It is a program originally developed to allow students in Oregon to finish their degree if making it to classes proved difficult.
"We started developing courses and putting them online so adult learners could access these courses when it is convenient for them," said Lisa Templeton, E-Campus Executive Director, "and the programs have just grown."
The program now includes students from 50 different states and 20 different countries.
"I think one of the strengths when you teach an on-ine course is you have a much wider range of backgrounds of students represented in the course," says Kaplan Yalcin, Geo-sciences Instructor for OSU.
However, having students spread out so far has its challenges as well.
"It is harder to put a face to a name with an on-line student, but you probably learn more about that student on line because there is more written interaction," add Yalcin.
While taking classes on-line has its ups and downs, the opportunities it provides are unquestionable.
"Currently I manage a wind farm in Casper, Wyoming," Gard said. "Part of the requirement was that I have at least a Bachelors Degree, and since I was already pursuing one here at Oregon State I was given that opportunity."