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School serves up blended education

Empire State College is bring the concept of a blended education to the forefront of academia with a new program for business professionals who have experience in the field but not a degree.

The FORUM management program is offered through the college and is located in Latham. The "blended" model offers online content in conjunction with face-to-face student-faculty interaction.

"You've got some online, but the big thing is that we have two residencies," director of the program Irene Norsworthy said.

The program started in the fall of 2007, and Norsworthy said it is now in "full swing."

Outreach and recruitment coordinator Ginger Knight said many professionals do not have the time to enroll in traditional classes, and this program allows them to work around their jobs.

"They need flexible schedules, and that's what we offer," said Knight.

Students from all areas of the business world, including the health-care industry, banking and human resources have participated in the program.

Norsworthy said the program includes two weekend-long seminars that include student participation and networking. She said it is not the typical classroom setting and involves hands-on practical problem solving.

Norsworthy said the students are mature, and many have the skills and experience to teach some of the courses.

She said with the tumultuous economy, many professionals are seeking degrees to help solidify their resume.

"We are seeing more students coming in from organizations that are downsizing," she said.

Norsworthy said the school offers a September term in the fall, a January term and an eight-week "May

A" term in between. The January and September terms are a full 15 weeks long.

Credits can be earned for training received on the job if it pertains to education and management and, Norsworthy said, military experience could also be counted.

Empire State College serves 18,000 students, and its coordinating center is located in Saratoga.""

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