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LU online computer science program tapped for excellence

Lamar University was named a top college for online computer science programs by, a resource for online learning in computer science and related fields.

The organization recently analyzed data from hundreds of colleges offering computer science programs online and published a new list of the Best Online Computer Science Degree Programs 2014-2015. On the list are schools that excel in online learning in one of 12 central computer science and tech-related disciplines based on tuition cost, student-faculty ratio, six-year graduation rate, percentage receiving financial aid, academic/career counseling, ABET accreditation and the number of degree programs in computer science, computer engineering, computer forensics, cyber security, database administration, information security, information technology, computer networking, programming, software engineering or web development.

Lamar University placed 9th in a list of 52 published on the Web at

“We are very happy for this recognition of our excellence in online learning in computer science,” said Stefan Andrei, chair of the Department of Computer Science. “I want to thank Dr. Larry Osborne who initiated the conversion of traditional courses into online courses in 2009, as well as to all faculty and staff members for their efforts regarding designing online courses in cooperation with the Center of Distance Education.”

Johnny Jarrell, director of Center of Distance Education, said, “the faculty put a lot of effort into developing and teaching courses for the online program. They are always looking for ways to enhance their courses and showcase their work.”

“Lamar University put its first courses online in the mid-90s, but they were not nearly as complete, user friendly, or sophisticated as those we offer today,” said Stephen Doblin, provost and vice president.

While it was clear early on that active and collaborative instructional approaches and the use of technology to enhance student learning were important ways to motivate students, the university did not move aggressively in that direction until the university community as a whole embraced the idea and decided to partner with a private company to offer online graduate courses and degrees to scale, Doblin said. The faculty of the Departments of Educational Leadership and Professional Pedagogy (now Teacher Leadership) led the way in this latter initiative.

“From the very beginning, our approach was to use only existing LU courses, degree programs, faculty members, admission requirements and academic standards, and to offer online only course and degrees of high quality, just as we do on campus,” Doblin said. “President Simmons and I visited many departments during that period, and in those conversations encouraged faculty to consider modifying some of their courses and offering them online, ultimately broadening the institution’s offerings of online degrees.”

“It was clear to us that doing so was important for institutional vibrancy and growth, and would place Lamar University in the forefront of the inevitable national movement to increase access to higher education through online delivery of knowledge,” he said. “Since those early conversations, many of our faculty members have begun offering courses online, and the university now has more than 20 degree programs in its distance education portfolio. It is particularly pleasing that our new president, Dr. Kenneth Evans, recognizes the importance of online learning to LU’s future, and he is a vigorous supporter of these efforts.”

Several academic departments have received national recognition for their online courses and degrees, Doblin said. “The Department of Computer Science is one of them, and the faculty are to be congratulated for the recent high rating for their online program by,” Doblin said.