The number of students learning online has passed the 7 million mark, growing 15% in just two years
Had enough of those long days sitting in the classrooms with 300 other people trying to stay awake? Wish you could make an upcoming adventure in college fit into your schedule? With online degree programs growing in accessibility, variety and credibility, there’s no time better than now to enroll. In fact, online education has increased in popularity so drastically, the number of students learning online has passed the 7 million mark, growing 15% in just two years.*
Traditional colleges and universities are even making up a critical part of this growth by offering many of their campus programs in an online format. As part of the Babson research study, online programs were ranked based upon several factors to calculate the 30 Best Online Colleges for 2014. Ranking in the top ten were notable programs including Washington State University-Global Campus, Colorado State University-Global Campus, Arizona State University Online, University of Florida Distance Learning, and at number one, Penn State University’s World Campus.
So, what makes online education different from a traditional program in structure? Believe it or not, there are actually many similarities – it is the format in which communications and assignments are organized that will be the key differentiators. While you do not physically sit in a lecture, weekly participation in communication forums is measured by your engagement and feedback on curriculum topics and assigned readings. Instead of sitting through a mind and butt-numbing lecture in a giant hall, you’ll watch interactive videos produced by your professor, equipped with energetic multi-media tools. You’ll execute parallel assignments including individual and team projects, papers and presentations. But, the online classroom format will allow you the flexibility to complete those activities around your schedule, as well as challenge you to enhance your written, phone and video conference communication skills. While it may seem elementary, thorough practice of these skill sets in school will benefit you invaluably in the professional world.
Loaded with an arsenal of appealing and practical benefits, online learning programs give you the best of both worlds in their flexibility, course and degree variety, and most importantly, affordability. Despite what may seem like an unconventional classroom environment, you’ll find yourself making new friends easily with the interactions you’ll have through group assignments and lecture participation forums. Often times, your new peers can be found all over the globe, creating connections wherever you may want to head next. Whether you aim to get your degree while traveling the world, want to earn your credits while maintaining your current job, or just desire to attend class in your pj’s, an online education is a dynamic option you don’t want to miss.
*U.S. News and World Report