Dakota Wesleyan establishes Digital DWU, offers online degrees

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Digital DWU, an entirely online educational experience, will become a reality at Dakota Wesleyan University this fall.

The university will offer an online Master of Business Administration beginning in August, as well as continuing the online Bachelor of Science degree for registered nurses currently holding an associate’s degree.

Derek Driedger, associate professor of English, has been named associate dean of digital learning.  He has been leading the implementation process since early April.

“Dr. Driedger has a commanding sense of the evolving nature of higher education,” said Amy Novak, DWU president. “He immerses himself in the technology and examines strategies for using digital technologies.  Derek’s goal-oriented leadership style, scholarly engagement and excellent integration of digital learning into his classes have prepared him to assume this important role for Dakota Wesleyan.”

“We have offered online courses for many years,” Driedger said, “but this is the first time we will offer degrees entirely online, allowing anyone in any location to earn a degree from Dakota Wesleyan University.  As DWU steps further into the world of digital learning with online courses and degrees, my role will be to oversee online curriculum, help departments design online-friendly courses and maintain a university-wide consistency.”

The M.B.A. in strategic leadership will be unique in that it will focus on practical application rather than theory.  It is designed for those working, or interested in working, in nonpublicly traded businesses rather than Fortune 500 companies.  Learners will be encouraged to collaborate on real-world problem-solving in order to transcend the experience from the classroom into everyday life.  According to Driedger, it will be a more applicable M.B.A. than is currently offered regionally.

“About 80 percent of businesses in our region are smaller, and they require hands-on management with an emphasis on personal leadership,” he said.  “We have been developing curriculum for this program for more than a year, and we believe it will be well-received because it will lead students through real-world problem solving exercises, with emphases on communication and ethical decision-making.”

For those who have already earned a baccalaureate degree, the M.B.A. program is open to all academic disciplines and professional backgrounds, creating a diverse learning experience.  The entrepreneurial and strategic leadership focus of this program is enhanced by a values-driven emphasis that is informed by an active and applied Christian worldview, according to Driedger.

A key component of Digital DWU is community.  The virtual campus and learning management system will allow students to form relationships and interact with one another, as well as faculty members, any time of day or night.  M.B.A. students will have the option of taking one course or two every eight weeks with sessions beginning in August or January.

The RN-B.S. nursing program builds upon previous knowledge and provides an opportunity for working nurses to focus on enhancing their leadership and management skills.  The nursing program was built to complement the nurse’s previous work experience with new skills that will contribute to professional and personal growth, according to Driedger.

“As we implement and assess these programs throughout the coming year,” he said, “we will consider potential new online programs to add to Digital DWU.  Once we get the initial courses running, we intend to be responsive to the needs and interests of students and the marketplace.”

Application information for both programs is available on the DWU website, www.dwu.edu

Categories: News
Dakota Wesleyan University was named to the 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
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