Distance Learning Waubonsee Students Start Telecommuting to School

Article excerpt

Byline: Terri Tabor Daily Herald Staff Writer

For people like 34-year-old Karla Ducayet of Aurora, there aren't enough hours in the day to go back to school.

But now that two-year colleges like Waubonsee Community College offer classes via the Internet, Ducayet has time to tend to her 2-year-old son, Kirby, prepare meals, clean house and get the interpreter degree she has always wanted.

"After everyone is sleeping and chores are done, you can research," she said. "I can get on-line anytime."

Waubonsee Community College this fall joined about 10 other colleges across the state, including the College of DuPage and Elgin Community College, in using the Internet to make education more accessible.

Thirty-nine students have enrolled in the college's three on-line classes, which include Orientation to Deafness, freshman English and accounting.

"Obviously, what we are trying to do is give more options to students who have time and place constraints," said Deborah Lovingood, assistant vice president of instruction at Waubonsee.

Mothers of young children, people who work long hours, students who want to take classes with conflicting times and people with disabilities are all benefiting from classes offered in the comforts of home.

For Ducayet, the benefits are two-fold. She has been hard of hearing all her life.

"If I'm in a lecture hall, forget it," she says. "I can't hear the teacher unless I'm right under her. It's more convenient when I don't have to struggle to listen."

The convenience factor of on-line courses is what makes them a hit at colleges.

The College of DuPage went on-line last fall with 50 students enrolled in five courses. Now, only a year later, the college has 250 students enrolled in 12 courses.

Elgin Community College started offering on-line courses five years ago. Since then, the college has added two more classes and the enrollment has jumped from 47 to 113.

All three colleges plan to keep adding courses. …