University of Alaska Fairbanks: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth

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Center for Distance Education and Independent Learning
Fairbanks, Alaska

Distance Learning Program

UAF developed a Correspondence Study Program in the late 1950s, but the current Center for Distance Education and Independent Learning (CDE) was created in 1987. The Independent Learning Program offers more than 120 courses and serves approximately 6,000 students throughout the world each year.

Independent Learning courses are open for enrollment any time of the year. Students have up to one year from the date of enrollment to finish course work. Extensions may be available, depending on the circumstances. Students are encouraged to use e-mail to submit lessons to circumvent delays in the standard mailing process.

CDE also supports close to 150 distance-delivered courses offered on a semester basis for several certificate and degree programs through the master's level within Alaska each academic year. CDE is part of the College of Rural and Community Development, with branch campuses in Bethel, Dillingham, Interior-Aleutians, Kotzebue, and Nome, as well as participating with extended campuses of the University of Alaska Anchorage and University of Alaska Southeast.

Delivery Media

A wide range of media, including basic written materials, audiotapes, videotapes, CD-ROMS, electronic mail, and the World Wide Web, is utilized to deliver instruction. Many courses are available online and more are being developed. Not all modes of delivery are available for every course, and students must have access to the appropriate equipment as specified in individual course descriptions. Most interaction between students and instructors is asynchronous in nature and may be via written communication, e-mail, or by phone interview.

Programs of Study

Approximately 120 independent learning courses can be used to fulfill degree program requirements within the University of Alaska's statewide system or at any other university that accepts the credits. The Center for Distance Education and Independent Learning is not a degree-granting organization. Future plans include delivery of certificates and degrees online.

For students residing in-state, certificates and degrees available through the College of Rural and Community Development include a certificate in rural human services; the A.A. in general studies; the A.A.S. in human service technology; the A.A.S. and a certificate in community health, early childhood, educational paraprofessional, information technology specialist, and tribal management; the B.A. in social work; the B.A. and M.A. in rural development; and the B.A. and M.Ed. in education.

Individual course requirements vary for Independent Learning courses and are detailed in the course description. Many courses list prerequisites and it is up to the student to determine if he or she has fulfilled the requirements.

Special Programs

The Center for Distance Education and Independent Learning participates in the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) programs; information is available from base personnel or education officers. Veterans' educational benefits are also applicable. DANTES students must complete a UAF enrollment form as well as the DANTES forms.

People interested in being certified to teach in Alaska find courses available that fulfill teacher certificate and recertification requirements for the State of Alaska Department of Education. Students may choose among several courses that satisfy the Alaska studies and multicultural requirements.

In 1917, just fifteen years after the discovery of gold in the heart of the Alaskan wilderness, the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines was created by a special act of the Alaska Territorial Legislature. In 1922, the college opened with 6 faculty members and 6 students. Today, the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), whose name was changed in 1931, continues to grow, both in size and stature. In addition to the main campus in Fairbanks, UAF has branch campuses in Bethel, Dillingham, Kotzebue, Nome, and the Interior/Aleutians. UAF is the state's land-, sea-, and space-grant institution. Its College of Rural and Community Development has the primary responsibility for Alaska Native education and study, and UAF remains the only university in Alaska that offers doctoral degrees. UAF's colleges and schools offer more than seventy fields of study and a wide variety of technical and vocational programs. All courses are approved and meet the accreditation standards of the Commission on Colleges and Universities of the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges.

Student Services

Students have access to the state library system and the UAF Rasmuson Library directly or through the Statewide Library Electronic Doorway (SLED). All students can obtain accounts on the University of Alaska computer network, which also gives access to the wider Internet and the World Wide Web. The UAF Writing Center offers free tutoring for student use. Papers are faxed to the center, and a telephone appointment is made between the tutor and the student. Students may not schedule more than one appointment per day. A toll-free UAF math hotline for problem solving and math help is also available for student use. Available hours may change each semester.

Credit Options

Since the Center for Distance Education and Independent Learning is not a degree-granting organization, there is no transfer of credit or credit for prior learning available.


The Independent Learning Program includes approximately 90 faculty members, about half of whom are also full-time members of the UAF faculty and have terminal academic degrees. Adjunct faculty members and discipline professionals are hired to supplement the University's full-time faculty.


Students may enroll in individual courses any time during the year and have one year to complete the course. There are no admissions requirements or procedures since the Center for Distance Education and Independent Learning is not a degree-granting organization.

Tuition and Fees

All students enrolled in UAF Independent Learning courses are charged the same tuition whether they are Alaska residents or not. Tuition for 100- to 200-level courses is $109 per credit, 300- to 400-level courses are $123 per credit, and 600-level courses are $244 per credit. There is an additional $2/credit hour UA Network fee for all 100-through 400-level courses. There is an additional $5 per credit hour UA Network fee for all 600-level courses. The only other costs for courses are materials fees that vary by course and a $25 service fee per course. Students outside the U.S. must submit payment in U.S. dollars and are charged an extra $30 per course plus any additional shipping charges for the delivery of materials. (Actual costs of delivery are determined upon registration.)

Financial Aid

Alaska students who are full-time (enrolled in at least 12 credits per semester) and are taking independent learning courses on a semester basis are eligible for all the types of financial aid available to other students, including Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, State Educational Incentive grants, Bureau of Indian Affairs grants, Federal Stafford Student Loans, and State of Alaska student loans. Students enrolled in regular yearlong courses are not eligible to receive financial aid.


Curt Madison, Director
Center for Distance Education and Independent Learning
College of Rural Alaska
P.O. Box 756700
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-6700
Phone: 907-474-5353
800-277-8060 (toll-free)
Fax: 907-474-5402
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:


No application is required of students taking Independent Learning courses. Completion of a UAF enrollment form and payment of fees are all that are required of students to take courses. Verification of enrollment and course materials are mailed to the student, and the student may begin the course work.

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University of Alaska Fairbanks: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth

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University of Alaska Fairbanks: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth