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Three Rivers College announces fully online degree program

Starting this fall, Three Rivers College will be offering three fully online degree programs and 10 AA transfer pathways. 

The degree programs being offered are the Associate of Arts in Teaching, Associate of Science in Administration of Justice, and the Associate of Arts with the following pathways: Business Administration, Communication, English, General Education, History, Political Science, Pre-Law, Psychology, Social Work, and Sociology. All will transfer into bachelor degree programs.

The College also offers virtual advising, registration, library services, and tutoring to support online students.

These fully online programs give students another option for completing degrees in addition to face-to-face classes, which Three Rivers plans to resume for Fall.

“We have been working toward fully online programs for at least a year and a half,” said Dr. Wesley Payne, President of Three Rivers College. “But when COVID-19 happened, we had to figure out how to take everything online, and do it quickly.”

“I can’t say enough about how well the faculty members have responded to this huge upheaval in the way they teach classes, give tests, and interact with students,” said Payne. “In a very short time, they figured out how to make this work for our students, keeping them learning and engaged and helping keep their education on track.” 

The TRC faculty worked together to find the best solutions for moving classes to remote instruction. Other areas of the College, such as the library, tutoring, and student services made sure students had the support they needed, while watching for gaps and filling those as they became apparent. The College has been authorized to offer online programs since 2010, and has long offered online classes, but degrees could not be completed without at least some traditional face-to-face classes.

A soft rollout of online programs was planned for the 2021 Spring semester, but with many of the resources and processes in place earlier than expected and a growing need for online degree programs, the College decided to move forward with fully online programs this Fall semester.

“With the current uncertainty, we knew it was important to give our students and the community a way to pursue fully online degrees,” said Payne. “We want to give them the option of working on advancing their careers or continuing their education from home on their own schedule.”

“Even after moving our Spring classes online, there was still a lot of work to be done to prepare for fully online programs this Fall,” said Dr. Melissa Davis, Chair of Communications, Agriculture, Languages, and Fine Arts at Three Rivers College. “In addition to the faculty moving tests and lessons for more classes to an online format, all of our online classes go through the Quality Matters process.”

Quality Matters (QM) is a nationally recognized, faculty-driven peer review process used to ensure the quality of online courses. “By having all of our courses QM-approved, we can confirm each course is demonstrating the set of standards we feel exemplify a quality online course,” said Davis.

Ensuring the quality of education is a top priority for online classes as it has always been for face-to-face classes. Online security was also a high priority.

“As we put these new classroom practices into place, we have been very focused on the online safety and security of our students, as well as academic integrity,” said Dr. Staci Foster, Chair of Nursing and Allied Health at Three Rivers College.

The College is testing special software and using proctored examinations to ensure academic integrity.

“This is just the beginning,” said Foster. “We plan to continue to add more options to our fully online degree program offerings.”

In addition to online learning, students can now do every part of the enrollment process online or by phone.

“We have made virtual enrollment as easy as possible,” said Chris Adams, Director of Enrollment Services and Student Development at Three Rivers. “We offer online orientations, Zoom sessions with advisors and financial aid, and online registration. Students who need assistance can reach us by email and phone. Students can do everything they need to do virtually.”

Faculty and staff advisors are available by phone or through email to assist students with career planning and progression. For assistance or to schedule an advising session, contact the Welcome Center at 573-840-9605 or email

Advising sessions are also available by drop-in via Zoom 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Financial aid advisors are available via Zoom 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. To connect with an advisor via Zoom, visit and click the “Meet Now Using Zoom” button in the website header. In person registration resumes June 1.

Three Rivers College is committed to contributing to the quality of life in Southeast Missouri with quality, affordable higher education opportunities and community services that support and encourage the economic, civic, and cultural vitality of the region. For more information about college and workforce programs and upcoming events, visit

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