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Distance Learning

STUDY AT WISR FOR PERSONS LIVING OUTSIDE THE AREA

 

Although many WISR students live in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, all of WISR’s degree programs and courses are available by online learning from a distance. WISR students living nearby can participate in seminars on site at WISR and meet with faculty face to face at WISR’s learning center in Berkeley. All seminars are also available by phone and video conference over the internet.  Over the years, we have found that most students admitted from outside the Bay Area do exceedingly well in our programs. We provide significant, and regular, individualized, real-time instruction to students from outside the Bay Area, similar to the ways we are able to work with local students nearby, except that we make extensive and regular use of phone conference calls instead of face-to-face meetings. In addition, local students also sometimes prefer to participate by phone conference calls or video conferences over the internet.

Students living throughout the US, and even in other countries around the world, are able to pursue academic degrees at WISR through regular phone and video conferences with faculty, exchange of drafts over the internet, and, if they wish, by occasional visits to WISR to participate on site in seminars and to meet with faculty and other students. Students studying from a distance not only participate in online learning, but are actively engaged in real-time dialogue by calling into a phone conference line that will be connected with a speaker phone in our seminar room, or by accessing seminars and meetings over the internet by real-time video conferences, as well. Students and faculty on site at WISR and those students on their phone line or computer/internet, off site, are able to interact and discuss issues, ideas and questions with one another.

Regular faculty feed-back to students is also communicated online at a distance, with faculty engaged in diligent reading of student comments, posts, questions, reviews of books, and drafts of papers. Faculty respond thoughtfully and in a timely fashion. Faculty make every effort to give students rapid feedback on their writing comments and drafts of papers and theses. Typically, faculty give students feedback on papers that are 20 pages or less, within 7 to 10 days. Faculty may need as much as three to four weeks to read and give feedback on longer papers, and especially on drafts of theses and dissertations. Faculty are available to set up hour-long conferences with students, either face-to-face, or by phone once every week or so, or more often, when requested by students. Generally, it is best to set up appointments a week in advance, so students can coordinate their own schedules of availability with the openings in the faculty member’s schedule.

The specific requirements for student participation in seminars and other forms of peer to peer learning vary from one degree program to another, and from one course to another. In all cases, student engagement in learning with other students is considered to be exceedingly important. Students are encouraged and assisted to form student study groups, and to engage in collaborative projects. Students are expected actively and regularly participate in online forums and in seminars.

MFT students must participate in a total of 48 seminar sessions during their studies at WISR, including during at least one per month while they are doing their practicum. Students, other than MFT students, who have a hardship in participating in the required seminars per month because of career and family scheduling conflicts must negotiate with faculty other, substantive ways that they are collaborating with other WISR students each month, in place of some (but not all) of the required seminars. They will need to document these other collaborations and reflectively write about the impact of any alternative/substitute collaborations.

Here are examples of some alumni and current students who have studied, or are studying, from great distances from the Bay Area . . .

• A recent WISR PhD alumnus is a tenured professor of law in Boston.  As an Asian-American, he serves on community task forces which are fostering community dialogue to further multi-culturality in the greater Boston area.  His PhD studies focused on his specialization in labor law and workplace bullying, as well as his special interest in the role of intellectuals in promoting progressive social change.

• A former PhD student is a Nigerian who used his PhD studies at WISR to further social policy research aimed at redistributing the wealth from Nigerian oil resources to benefit impoverished communities there.

 Another recent PhD alumnus is originally from Cameroon, and now living in Bangladesh and working as Chair of the Department of Vocational and Technical Education at the Islamic University of Technology (IUT).  His studies at WISR are focused on evaluating and improving the technical education skills and knowledge of IUT’s students who will be returning to one of the over 50 countries represented among IUT’s student body.

• A faculty member at the University of California, San Diego, who specialized in multi-cultural education, teaching reading and writing to young children, and the creation of support systems for minority teachers.

• The historian for the Omaha tribe, who, while living in Nebraska, successfully obtained his MA at WISR with his studies focusing on cultural preservation projects growing out of his work with his tribe and with anthropologists, educators, public officials and the general public. Subsequently, he and a colleague of his in a neighboring community, collaborated and completed their PhDs at WISR, while working on a number of projects including their dissertation which was an in-depth history of the Omaha people from an Omaha perspective.

• A professor of “English as a Foreign Language” in Japan who was very involved in a number of facets of cross-cultural education.  His PhD studies at WISR furthered his professional writing, including a paper on “Ethnographies of Learning” presented at the 1997 TESOL Conference in Orlando, Florida.  His dissertation was concerned with researching and articulating a critical approach to learning and teaching culture, based on the study of “English as a Foreign Language” classrooms in Japan.

• Several former and current PhD students are licensed therapists living in such locales as Colorado, Hawaii, Germany and Seattle, who have pursued advanced work in the treatment of a wide variety of trauma survivors, and in the training of therapists and other professionals who work with people recovering from various forms of trauma.  These therapists have often studied the use of somatic and movement approaches to therapy in conjunction with verbal approaches.  Some have been concerned with neurological and physiological, as well as spiritual, aspects of healing.

Procedures that Comply with State Regulations when the enrolling student is studying at a distance:

1. A WISR faculty member will confer with each enrolling student to discuss the first steps and activities in their learning at WISR, whether the student is studying at a distance or not, within 7 days of the student’s date of enrollment. Instruction centers on real time interaction between students and faculty; however, students access WISR syllabi, some course materials and assignments through the internet. Currently, these are sent to students by e-mail, but WISR is making a transition to the use of a Learning Management System that is user-friendly and available online. Students are able to have discussions with faculty and with other students in real-time (phone, internet or on site), and soon will be able to participate in online forums to further dialogue and learning.
2. For students learning at a distance and those residing locally, instruction centers on real time interaction between students and faculty—either face to face or by phone conference (the latter is used with local students from time to time as well as with students studying at a distance). As noted above, instruction is aided by e-mail and online over the internet. All student work is submitted electronically and becomes part of the student’s electronic portfolio (or e-portfolio).

3. As stated in WISR’s enrollment agreement, a Full Refund may be obtained by withdrawing within 7 days of the beginning of an enrollment agreement, or at the student’s first meeting with a WISR faculty person to plan and begin their studies for their educational program, whichever is later. Since all students meet with a faculty member within 7 days, they will still have the 7-day period in which to cancel and receive a full refund.
Faculty make every effort to give students rapid feedback on their written comments, questions, books reviews, and drafts of papers and theses. Typically, faculty give students feedback on papers that are 20 pages or less, within 7 to 10 days. Faculty may need as much as three to four weeks to read and give feedback on longer papers, and especially on drafts of theses and dissertations. Faculty are available to set up hour-long conferences with students, either face-to-face, or by phone once every week, or more often, as needed by students. Generally, it is best to set up appointments a week in advance, so students can coordinate their own schedules of availability with the openings in the faculty member’s schedule.

 

WISR Policies on Distance Learning
Admissions Requirements and Teaching-Learning Process for those Living Outside the Bay Area (more . . .)