Young people today are shopping, banking, socializing and gaming online. They are virtually inseparable from their electronic devices. It shouldn’t be surprising that they are looking to the Internet for their college education as well.
Not only that, but today’s students start participating in e-learning from as early as Kindergarten. Many high schools offer online courses for credit recovery, to broaden their course offering or accommodate student’s schedules. According to Jim Hundrieser of Noel-Levitz, high schools are turning out college bound seniors with high expectation for online learning opportunities as part of their higher education.
Popularity of online education
Online enrollment is far outpacing traditional enrollment because of the affordability, convenience and flexibility it offers. According to Forbes, the growth rate of online enrollment is 21%. Pew Research has found that 1 in 4 college students is taking at least one online course.
While there are a growing number of online colleges, even traditional institutions are trending the same way be offering at least some online or blended courses. The rapid growth of the Internet along with the declining economy have created the perfect storm for higher education institutions.
In his article, “Report Discusses Top Trends in Student Enrollment,” Jamaal Abdul-Alim cites a Lawlor Group study as concluding that, “All types of online and hybrid courses are thriving as the marketplace seeks cost-effective access and convenient delivery.” While a college education is still considered critical to one’s success in the down economy, today’s students are looking for economical ways to reach that goal and online education is a standout option.
College and universities are offering a variety of online components. Some courses are 100% online while others are a hybrid, a blend of online and traditional face-to-face interactions.
Typical students participate online by:
- Viewing lectures online, either live or on-demand
- Submitting their assignments online
- Reading digital text books, articles or other materials
- Completing forum based assignments
- Delivering projects on online platforms
- Viewing on demand or face-to-face lectures
- Accessing podcasts
- Utilizing student portals
The availability of online learning options are important factor for most students today in selecting a college or university.
Advantages of online education
In its early years, online education was frowned upon by traditional college and universities, as well as employers. The common perception was that online courses did not provide the same value or rigor as traditional course. This stigma is quickly fading into the past as graduates of online education have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with graduates of traditional institutions.
There are a number of distinct advantages to an online education for students including:
Flexibility—much of online course content is on demand and can be accessed on any schedule. This has made higher education accessible to non-traditional students such as parents, those with full-time employment, or older adults.
Affordablity—online courses and degrees offer a substantial financial savings over traditional higher education. Not only is this savings found in the tuition, but because students can live at home or anywhere they need to often reducing room and board costs considerably.
Options—with online education the choices are endless. There are online courses and degree programs for every career interest: business, criminal justice, education, nursing, and information technology. Students can choose from Ivy League schools, Christian online college, business administration schools and more.
Undoubtedly the internet revolution of higher education has been hugely beneficial for students looking for affordable and quality higher educations. Today’s smart, savvy students are eagerly taking advantage of all online education has to offer.