Online Education Popularity

New year's resolution: get your degree online

According to Reuters, online degrees were up 13 percent in 2009. Public perception for online education is becoming more and more acceptable as businesses are hiring folks that got their degrees online. Also noteworthy, are that companies are providing tuition reimbursement for online programs as well.

The reasons for online education's popularity are several-fold, but include: 1) higher performance of students educated virtually vis-a-vis traditional face-to-face learners, 2) increased access of online education to the general population, 3) convenience and flexibility, 4) career focused programs, 5) cost efficiency- cost per credit hour and all-in cost (e.g. no commuting expenses), and 6) time to completion is often less.

Can Non-Traditional Students Go Back to School Easily?

Non-traditional American students are fed up with commuting costs and all of the inconvenience of having to be on campus at a certain time. You’ve heard it before, getting an online education is a very flexible option for returning to college and a great new year’s resolution. Whatever challenge you might face, you just can’t beat the flexibility of studying from your own home and when you’re able to carve out the time.  Time and recession stressed Americans can finally be reassured that some much needed competition in the online education market will drive down prices and improve the quality of a distance education degree.

What’s Helping all Online Programs?

Competition and technological improvements will be a very advantageous for anyone interested in learning. Even though online education momentum has been achieved through the efforts of for-profit institutions, experts agree that about 30 percent of American college students already take at least one class online and expect that percentage to increase in the coming decade. In the past, online programs have generally targeted non-traditional students. However, colleges with traditional, top students are already beginning to take online courses at places like University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and University of Southern California which have focused their online efforts to achieving a degree online. Furthermore, Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business (ranked 7th by U.S. News) and its Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice are launching a new, and mostly online master’s program designed to prepare and help mid-career health care leaders reach their professional employment goals.

Who Will Be Going to School Online?

Experts agree that we are at the beginning of elite schools really starting to take online programs seriously. These schools are interested in incorporating the image of their prestigious institutions with online options.  As technology expands, schools should consider replacing their huge; entry level courses that are taught in massive lecture halls that usually have little or no interactions between students and teachers. Colleges might benefit from offering these sorts of courses online. Regulation, Standardization and an online pedagogy will help usher in more online options for mainstream students as well as the non-traditional student motivated to go back to school for a university degree. In the long run, for-profit and traditional schools will both profit from these sorts of regulations.

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