Did you know there’s a program where you can learn from faculty all over the country, including Mizzou? On this episode of Online Stripes, find out about the Great Plains IDEA program, and meet Penny Kittle who received her degree through this unique online partnership.

By now, you probably know that as a student at Mizzou Online you get to interact with students from all over the world — but did you know that there’s a program where you can also learn from faculty from all over the country? That’s right. It’s called the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance — or as we call it: the Great Plains IDEA.

How does it work? Students apply and are admitted to Mizzou, which becomes their home university. Then online courses are taught by the best faculty—in the discipline of your choice—from several of our 19 member universities. All 100% online. All semester based and designed so you can learn on your own time.

Penny Kittle, who lives in Novinger, Missouri, was working full-time for the 4-H program when she decided to get her master’s in youth development at Mizzou.

"I've always been a fan of Mizzou but more importantly for me, the youth development program and the opportunity to do it online were the determining factors."

Penny received that degree through the Great Plains IDEA program.

"Through the Great Plains IDEA, all of your courses are taken online. However, they vary from university. I took classes through Texas, Michigan, Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas. It just depends on where the teachers from that's teaching with that program, so you get the opportunity to meet people from across the world."

That connection with her peers, from divergent environments and backgrounds, opened Penny’s eyes to many new ways of thinking.

"I think the most interesting part about working with people from different countries was the different perspectives they came with. We all have different struggles and different challenges and so it was a great opportunity to discuss those challenges and maybe share some ideas on how to overcome some of those unique challenges."

The program is not only accessible — but affordable, too. Regardless of your degree program or course, whether in-state or out-of-state, students pay the Great Plains IDEA common price per credit hour for courses at all universities. Plus – no worries about transferring credits.

And when you complete your studies, your degree or certificate is awarded by Mizzou. Through the Great Plains IDEA program, Penny graduated with a master's in youth development. It was a great day for both Penny and her family.

"This degree gives me the opportunity to advance up through MU Extension and make more money and work with more youth and do more of what I love to do."

So whether you’re a recent graduate, or someone thinking of changing careers — or, like Penny, someone who wants to advance their current career to the next level — check out Mizzou — and prepare yourself for a great future.

Tune in to our next episode of Online Stripes. Presented by the University of Missouri — home of Mizzou Online. Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeart Radio, and smart speakers. 

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