PULLMAN, Wash. — The Distance Degree Program at Washington State University now has a way to provide its students a memento of their education experiences while obtaining their degrees online.

“Cougar Tales” is a digital yearbook developed by the Associated Students of Washington State University – Distance Degree Program. The interactive CD-ROM uses flash technology with hyperlinks to WSU Web sites.

“Cougar Tales fosters a sense of being a ‘Coug’ and helps DDP students feel a stronger sense of belonging to Washington State University,” said Muriel Oaks, dean of Extended University Services.

In 1998 ASWSU-DDP discussed the possibility of a video yearbook that would be the equivalent to WSU’s printed yearbook, “Chinook.” Like its counterpart, Cougar Tales includes sections devoted to people, student government, events, faces and places and a contact page with Web links to DDP information.

A copy of the prototype CD-ROM was given to each DDP spring 2001 graduate, and their response was very positive, Oaks said.

“Students attending classes at a traditional campus have opportunities to develop bonds with peers and teachers and a sense of belonging to their university. These friendships and clear identification with their university often translate into lifelong loyalties,” she said. “DDP students interact with peers and teachers in virtual environments, developing emotional affiliations with peers, teachers and their university.”

DDP won the 2002 award for Innovation from the National University Telecommunications Network for its development of Cougar Tales.

For more information about Cougar Tales or the DDP, contact Extended University Services at (509) 335-3557 or visit the DDP Web site at www.distance.wsu.edu/.