By REN BISHOP
Columbia Collage is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its online education program with Online Education Month.
Gov. Jay Nixon proclaimed October as “Columbia College Online Education” month in honor of the occasion.
“It kind of formalizes recognition for what we’re doing,” said Michael Grissom, assistant dean for Adult Higher Education and the Online Campus. “We have been around for 10 years now and people don’t know that.”
The college created a new way for Columbia College students to be educated on Oct. 27, 2000, by offering online classes to students both in Columbia and across the country.
“We started exploring classes online back in 1999 and we went live in October 2000,” Grissom said.
The reason for the college’s initial exploration of online education had much to do with its tie to the military, Grissom said. The connection has continued and solidified over the course of its ten-year existence.
“Almost half our students in the online world are military personnel,” Grissom said. “We have students in Iraq, students in Afghanistan, those that are deployed in active areas, military bases, all over the place.”
Only 10 classes were offered during the first semester of the online program. Now, over 200 courses are offered and two-thirds of the students at Columbia College are connected to the online campus, Grissom said.