Online Education is Growing and Viewed Positively
Pandemic, rising fuel costs and economic hardship have made going to college online a more attractive option to current students as well as people who either did not go to college or who want to expand their skill set. Luckily, a study from the Sloan Consortium, Staying the Course: Online Education in the United States, published in November 2019, also shows that online degree programs are now being more readily accepted as courses of study as viable ways to get an education.
The report has been compiled annually since 2002 and tracks trends in the state of online learning in U.S. higher education. Over 2,500 colleges and universities contributed answers to the institute’s questions, which focused on the nature and extent of online education.
The Number of Students in Online Courses is on the Rise
Results of the Sloan Consortium’s survey revealed that enrollment in online degree programs has been growing faster than enrollment in traditional higher education institutions, 12.9 percent compared to just 1.2 percent respectively. It was also estimated that over 20 percent of students (3.9 million) enrolled in college-level courses were taking at least one online course in the Fall 2017 semester.
From there, it’s a numbers game. As more students graduate from online degree programs and are hired by employers, it’s becoming easier for human resources managers to see that online programs produce valuable staff members. Therefore, online degree programs are likely to be embraced further in the future.
Faculty and Administrative Opinions on Online Education
Increasingly, faculty members as well as academic leaders are seeing quality online courses as beneficial, perhaps even necessary, for meeting the needs of students. Both administrators and professors said the need to be flexible was the most important reason for adapting to online education systems.
Education administrators saw an increase in online course availability as a way to help a university’s bottom line, especially in times of economic hardship. Additionally, more public institutions than private ones see building online degree programs as a critical strategy to their future success.
Finding an accredited online university is the most important way for a prospective student to get a quality degree that he or she can sell to a business, says the Distance Education and Training Counsel, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., with the mission of promoting sound educational standards and ethical business practices in correspondence education.
Degree programs online should be accredited by an agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. To find out if an institution is accredited, access the Database of Institutions at the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s website, Chea.org. From the online school’s accrediting agency, a prospective student can discover how long the school has been in operation, if its courses are updated, whether or not it hires quality faculty, and if it practices ethical business standards.
Online Degrees Over Time
Students who do their homework to find out which legitimate online programs will meet their needs can benefit economically while receiving a quality education. Even in traditional brick-and-mortar institutions, faculty and administration are seeing benefits to conducting classes online. In a world that is growing greener and more digital, online degree programs seem to have a bright future.