There’s little denying the growth of online education in recent years. “Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States”, a collaborative survey from the Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board, shows that almost seven million students take at least one online course. Higher education providers can be seen to be responding to the increased demand with more than 62% of colleges offering a fully online degree option, compared with a little over 32% in 2002. Despite some reservations as to the sustainability of online courses, almost 80% of academic leaders consider that online education learning outcomes equal or surpass those achieved in traditional face-to-face tuition. Those same academic leaders are equally likely to look upon online education favorably as a means of assessing online pedagogy, but what are the benefits for students? Why exactly have almost seven million students taken, at least in part, the online route to their education?
The benefits of an online education are easily understood. The cost factor is the one that immediately comes to mind, but there are many other advantages to pursuing an online degree. With the exception of perhaps a handful of online colleges that require a student to login at certain times, the majority of online courses offer a degree of flexibility that courses taught at traditional bricks and mortar campuses just can’t match. Not only can students choose when they study, studying online allows students to “attend” pretty much any college of their choosing without geographical limitations or concern for pre-existing work or childcare commitments. It all sounds wonderful, and for most students it is. That doesn’t mean it’s for everybody though. Just like a decision to attend college in person should be made carefully, so should the decision to study online. Here are some factors that students should consider before deciding to pursue an online education.
Each year, Degree Jungle rates the top online schools to reveal “America’s Best Online College”. In both 2011 and 2012, Everglades University has topped the Degree Jungle rankings. It seems this particular university is worthy of a closer look.
Everglades University: An Overview
A privately owned not-for-profit college, Everglades University has its main base in Boca Raton, Florida. In addition to a full featured online program, smaller branch campuses are located in Altamonte Springs and Sarasota. A student population of just over 1,000 was recorded by Degree Jungle in 2012. Bachelors and master’s degrees awarded by the university are accredited by the Commission on College of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
If you are thinking of pursuing an online education but the cost is making you more than a little apprehensive you might consider studying a tuition-free online degree from the University of the People (UoPeople). Founded in 2009 by Shai Reshef and affiliated with the likes of the Clinton Global Initiative and the United Nations GAID (The Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development), to date UoPeople have accepted more than 1,500 students from 132 countries for their online degree courses.
With the economy in its current state and the instability of businesses and companies around the country, many potential students and current students find it difficult choosing the right degree to pursue. Let’s face it, regardless of what your educational level is, there is no promise that your current position will be there for you tomorrow. With that being said, students are taking a wiser approach to education and employment plans today.
You may not feel it completely yet, or maybe not at all yet, but the job market is starting to warm up. In fact the latest job report reported nonfarm payroll employment increased by 151,000 in October. Maybe you have been looking for a job for months or want to start looking for a career change. Keep your head up and get smart about what fields are going to be in the highest demand as we roll out of this recession and journey out into a new economic environment.