Thursday, November 11, 2010

How May We Serve You?

Students who take distance education courses have a wealth of student services available to them, with more added each semester. One goal of Texas Woman’s University in regards to serving its distance learners is to be able to offer equal service to them without requiring them to come to campus.

Academic Resources

Currently, distance learners have full access to the course catalog; they can register and pay online and meet with their advisor by phone, email or chat. If it is necessary to drop a course, a student can do that by contacting the department offering the course they want to drop, all without coming to campus.

When it comes to utilizing the library, the TWU Blagg-Huey Library is next to none in what it offers its distance learners. For starters, distance learners have their very own librarian and staff members available to help them get started with their research. Ms. Stephany Compton is the Distance Education librarian and is always eagerly helpful. Distance learners can also utilize any of the electronic resources that are available to them via the Internet: the TWU Library Catalog, databases, subject guides, articles and electronic books. Distance learners can receive a TexShare card that allows them to check out books at any participating library in the State of Texas. In addition, they can utilize interlibrary loan and take advantage of research tools that assist with citation and bibliographies. All of these rich tools can be accessed by students without making a trip to the library on campus.

Student Life Resources

At the hub of non-academic student services is the Office of Commuter Services. This office works with the different areas of Student Life to establish equal and accessible student services for distance learners. Students can contact this office at 940.898.2789 to voice ideas or ask questions about available student services. Their announcements can be found on the Facebook page, “TWU Off Campus Students” and through Twitter at “TWUOffCampus.”

Every distance learner should receive a TWU Student ID after the 12th class day from ID Services. Students can use their student ID to obtain student discounts wherever they are given and students must present their student ID card whenever they use the TexShare card.

The TWU Write Site offers assistance to distance learners through the Online Writing Lab or OWL. Students can submit their writing assignments to the OWL and receive feedback about their paper.

Distance learners can buy their text books online and have them shipped through the TWU Bookstore website. When it’s time to graduate, distance learners who want to participate in commencement can purchase graduation regalia online as well.

When graduation is drawing near that means it is also time for students to start thinking about a job. For this, they can enlist the help of TWU Career Services. This office has a whole website devoted to the services and resources they offer distance learners.

The TWU Counseling Center has many self-help resources available on their website including information about sexual harassment and testing. Due to legal issues, the Counseling Center is unable to communicate with any student via the Internet or email or other electronic means.

In addition to these academic and student life service areas, distance learners also have full access to the TWU Help Desk if technical issues arise with Blackboard, registration, Pioneer Portal, TWU email, Microsoft applications and other TWU-related tech issues. They can be contacted by phone, email and online chat.

If for any reason distance learners want to come to the TWU Denton campus, they can obtain a free, temporary parking pass from the DPS office. This free parking pass is available once per semester only to students who are enrolled in distance education courses.

For more information about these and other services available to distance learners at Texas Woman’s University, please visit the Getting Started Guide, or contact the Distance Education Unit of the Office of Lifelong Learning at 940.898.3409 or DE@twu.edu.