In addition to our conventional campus program, an online option is available for both thesis and non-thesis options. The Space Studies Master’s program has been offered via Internet-based distance learning techniques since 1996. This has benefitted aerospace professionals who cannot come to the UND campus for the conventional two-year on-campus program due to existing employment and/or family commitments. The fully-accredited program offered online is identical to the on-campus program and offers the same level of opportunities for discussion, advisement and research. As the campus and distance programs are basically one, it allows the students to switch seamlessly between campus and online, should they desire. This means one can start as a distance student and move to campus midway through the program, and vice versa. As a result, it is not indicated in the final transcript whether a student earned the credits via online or campus courses.
Online space studies education involves the following:
On-campus class lectures are professionally videotaped and provided to enrolled students in the online classroom. Videotaped lectures offer a great deal of flexibility to the online student, allowing the individual to tailor instruction time to fit his or her schedule. A student can assimilate the information at his or her own pace, as long as he or she keeps up with the material covered in the scheduled interactive weekly chat sessions.
Faculty-student Interaction through online chats
A student's regular interaction with faculty and other students clarifies understanding and provides opportunities for the presentation and discussion of new ideas. To this end, regularly scheduled group discussions are conducted via Internet chat sessions. Online students complete the same class assignments and exams as the on-campus students. This is accomplished largely via email and online exams. As most of our distance students are working professionals with many years of experience, they bring a wealth of experience to the class room, facilitating the process of learning from peers.
Capstone team project with campus visit
Each online student who selects the non-thesis option is required to participate in a team-oriented capstone project. A major component of the capstone project is a required week-long conference at the UND campus in Grand Forks. Students must register for SpSt 595 Capstone during the fall semester prior to the calendar year that graduation is planned. The capstone week on campus the following semester will allow students to meet their professors and fellow students face-to-face, possibly for the first time. The philosophy behind Capstone is to bring all of the online graduate candidates and interested campus students together for seven days of team preparations, project presentations, seminars, and graduation ceremonies on the UND campus, as part of an integrative problem-solving course.
Online class web site
Each Space Studies course has an online classroom where the course syllabus, class lecture videos, assignments, Internet chat room links, and other important course material will be located. These online classrooms are powered by the eZ Learning Management System . We call it "eZ" for short. Students will need to create an account to access these restricted areas.
Regularly scheduled weekly Internet chat sessions are a degree requirement. Students must have reliable, consistent Internet access.
Textbook information is provided so that students may purchase their textbooks from an online bookseller of their choice.
A fall cornerstone conference is available to all students on the UND campus as an orientation to begin the space studies program.