Online Learning

Distance Education Universities

Distance Education Universities Growing Much Faster than Traditional Classrooms

When compared to distance learning, traditional universities are hardly growing at all. Enrollment in traditional programs for universities is only growing at a rate of about 2%. Online courses, however, are seeing growth in enrollment of 21%. The latest statistics show that people are still responding to the economic recession by pursuing additional education. And they are, in large part, getting it online. In fact, a majority of today’s universities report that the economic recession has significantly increased the demand for online classes and distance education opportunities.

Almost all of the recent growth in online enrollment has come from expansion of existing online programs, not from institutions that are new to online programs. For the student, this means that their online college or university has likely been around awhile and has some experience. The top programs throughout the education industry are those that express a willingness to continuously improve, building off of the efforts of students, faculty, facilitators, and administrative staff.

Universities also report that the competition for online students is growing, and students can take advantage of the lower rates and better offerings provided by universities competing for their business. Online learning is relatively new, but distance education universities got their start a long time ago. One of the first such programs was initiated in 1873 by Anna Tinknor. The program was developed to offer women of all classes educational opportunities in their homes. The program lasted 21 years, and despite its low profile, hundreds of thousands of women participated.

The internet has broken down a lot of barriers in terms of the types of subjects that are offered by distance education universities. With video, sound and interactive features, there is almost no limit to what can be taught and learned online. Currently, the most sought after degrees from distance education universities online are business, psychology, nursing, engineering, liberal arts, education, information technology and criminal justice.

While succeeding at online courses and degrees will naturally require an added amount of self-starting, it is recommended for natural procrastinators to find programs that offer regular deadlines for assignments rather than open-ended semester course work. This gives students regular deadlines and prevents them from procrastinating. Distance education universities offer either asynchronous or synchronous courses. In an asynchronous course, the lessons are usually posted regularly or are posted in full when the semester starts and students work completely independently of scheduled class times. In synchronous courses, the students and instructor all log on at a specified time and conduct class in real time. The majority of institutions use asynchronous class schedules.

And if you’re concerned with becoming a slave to your computer by attending distance education universities it should be noted that many assignments can be completed away from the computer, such as at the library or with hands-on projects. Some programs stress assignments done away from the computer more than others. The guide also recommends that each student goes beyond choosing a degree program. Take the time to read all of the class requirements for the degree you are interested in.

The best marker for a reputable online college or university is their accreditation. Make sure the accrediting body is recognized by the Secretary of Education. If you are receiving life credits or work credits toward your degree, a reputable university will usually offer no more than 25% of your credits for work or life experience.

The technology available at the online university is also an important consideration. Many brick and mortar universities put a lot of effort into the technology of their online programs, but not all of them do. Find out the institution's level of commitment to their online program before signing up. Sometimes the larger universities can offer better technologies and service to online students than the smaller programs can provide.

Many college and university professors were slow to embrace online learning at first, but reports demonstrate that 75% of professors now feel that an online program is as good as or better than a traditional classroom setting. Employers are also reporting a better acceptance of online degrees. Now, 85% of human resource professionals and recruiters feel that online degrees are currently more widely accepted than they were as few as five years ago.

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