University of St. Francis: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth

views updated


Distance Learning
Joliet, Illinois

Distance Learning Program

The distance education programs at the University of St. Francis (USF) are delivered online and through faculty-directed instruction.

Delivery Media

Online courses use computer and information technologies to link faculty members and students from around the world into interactive classes. The online courses are designed for working professionals at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. USF uses the WebCT program to deliver online courses that are not timebound; students work on their courses at a time and place convenient to their schedules. Like any class, however, the students read texts, participate in class discussions, write papers, and take exams through the USF online program. Student interaction is an important component of USF online courses.

For the bachelor's degree-completion programs in health-care leadership and organizational leadership, faculty-directed instruction (FDI) courses are available. FDI courses are home-based correspondence courses that encompass the same course requirements as traditional classes. Course content, syllabi, textbooks, and assignments are the same as those of on-site classes. Students are provided with a comprehensive and rigorous course outline that includes a schedule for the completion of assignments, "lectures" and comments from the instructor, study guide questions, directions for projects and assignments, and examination materials. Students submit assignments to their instructor via mail, e-mail, and/or fax. Instructors telephone students periodically throughout the course to provide more in-depth interaction.

Programs of Study

The new world of health care challenges the knowledge and flexibility of today's nurses. USF offers a RN-B.S.N. fast track degree in nursing. Registered nursing students prepare for these challenges through coursework and clinical experiences developed individually to meet the needs of each RN student. After completion of prerequisites, the nursing course work may be completed in about 1½ years. The entire RN-B.S.N. fast track program is available online in eight-week modules, except for clinical experiences, which are set up at health care agencies in the RN nursing student's locale. Highly qualified, dedicated faculty members in the College of Nursing and Allied Health teach all online course work

The Bachelor of Science in organizational leadership provides study in general leadership areas, such as interpersonal communication, team building, ethical issues, and strategies for change. Students may select from two concentrations: organizational effectiveness and information technology.

The Bachelor of Science in health care leadership is for licensed or certified health-care professionals, such as medical lab assistants, nurses, or physical therapy assistants as well as those in supporting health-care roles, such as administrative assistants or office managers. The program also provides for the study of general leadership areas along with specific curriculum in health-care topics, such as information management, regulation and policy, and accounting and budgeting.

The Master of Science in health services administration program prepares health-care professionals for management in the dynamic health-care field. A high-quality program of challenging content meets the ever-changing demands of the profession. The program is designed for students who have knowledge and experience in specific areas of health care and are seeking a broader understanding of the field. While the program is offered in a convenient format, the content is rigorous. The curriculum includes both the theories of management and their practical applications in the health-care field. The graduate program emphasizes administration rather than a concentration with a specialty.

Students in the Master of Business Administration program have the convenience of pursuing their M.B.A. any time, any place through their laptop, home, or office computers and an Internet connection. This program provides a flexible, viable alternative for professionals with busy personal, work, and/or travel schedules. Students interact with faculty members, who are specially trained to offer a challenging, exciting, and meaningful online course experience.

The University of St. Francis is a private, Catholic, Franciscan institution offering more than sixty undergraduate areas of study and ten graduate programs. Courses are offered at more than eighty sites throughout the nation and online. The University serves more than 4,300 students nationwide, including 1,800 at its main campus in Joliet, Illinois.

The Master of Science in management program is for professionals who want to remain in their specialty field (such as social work, research and development, engineering, or nursing), but who want to step into or enhance a managerial role and their abilities. The Master of Science in management student gains an understanding of the social, managerial, economic, environmental, and organizational concepts that comprise the public and business fields. The program is designed for business professionals looking for a flexible, convenient path toward degree completion.

The Master of Science in training and development program helps meet the growing need for continuing education and training programs for business and industry, higher education, continuing professional education, governmental and community agencies, community education, religious organizations, gerontology programs, and health-care delivery systems. The curriculum includes areas of adult learning theory, needs analysis, instructional design, evaluation, program planning, management, marketing, and finance. The curriculum includes both theory and immediate applicability to the workplace.

Student Services

The goal of the University of St. Francis is to provide its online students with a wide array of academic support services equivalent to those available to on-campus students.

A full range of library support services are available to USF distance students, including remote access to the online catalog and online databases, access to online database tutorials and subject guides, toll-free telephone and e-mail access to reference librarians, periodic e-mail updates, and assistance locating local libraries and interlibrary loan services.

The University offers an Academic Resource Center with evening hours for distance students. It offers assistance with all aspects of the writing process, such as a paper formatting, source citation, grammar questions, and topic selection. Services are available via toll-free telephone and by e-mail.

Career counseling, assistance with creating resumes and cover letters, and job-seeking assistance are provided online through the Career Resource Center.

The University of St. Francis provides an online bookstore from which students can order books, clothing items, gifts, and other general merchandise items.

Through the Student Information Center, students receive general information on financial aid, access the University's online catalog and class schedule, request transcripts, and access their individual accounts.

Credit Options

Credit for graduate work completed at another nationally accredited institution may be accepted toward a graduate degree. Up to a total of eight semester hours may be transferred with certain provisions: the student has completed a petition for transfer of credit; the course(s) are appropriate to the student's degree program and not in conflict with credit limitations; the petition is approved by the academic adviser and the program administrators; and the student has earned a grade of B or higher in the course.

Credit will be considered for transfer only after the above conditions have been met and an official transcript of the student's record has been sent directly to the Off-Campus Admissions Office by the appropriate institution(s). In addition to the requirements listed, the course work should have been completed within seven years of applying to USF to be considered for credit.

A petition for transfer is granted only after the above conditions have been met. Transfer credits are not included in the computation of the student's GPA. Petition for transfer of credit must be processed, approved, and recorded before a student is considered eligible for candidacy and comprehensive examination.

Students applying for the M.B.A. program must also request an official copy of the transcript(s) from all colleges and universities they have attended. The Off-Campus Admissions Office must receive their transcripts before they may take certain courses.


The same high quality faculty members who teach on the campus teach distance education courses at the University of St. Francis. Besides being experts in the content area of the courses, faculty members have experience and training to provide students with an excellent distance learning experience.


Students may begin the admission process and register for their first class while completing the admission requirements for a specific program and college during the first month of enrollment. However, all admission requirements must be satisfied in order to be eligible for financial assistance.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees vary by program. For tuition rates for particular courses or programs of interest, prospective students should visit the Web site listed below.

Financial Aid

About 95 percent of USF students receive some form of financial aid, with the average award being more than 80 percent of tuition expenses. Applicants should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).


University of St. Francis
500 Wilcox Street
Joliet, Illinois 60435
Phone: 800-735-7500 (toll-free)
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:


In order to register for an online class for the first time, students must complete the online permit request form and the class registration. The permit is a questionnaire about the computer and browser the student is planning to use for his or her online class. In order to be successful in an online course, the student's computer must meet or exceed certain hardware and software requirements. The student completes this questionnaire only once, before the first online class. Registration for class includes an e-mail address. Students who are new to the University register with their admissions counselor; continuing students enrolling in an online class for the first time register through their academic program.

More From

About this article

University of St. Francis: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth

Updated About content Print Article

You Might Also Like


    University of St. Francis: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth