Online Courses

Online classes give you the flexibility to learn off-campus, often at times most convenient for your schedule. Identify 10 degrees you can earn online, weigh the pros and cons of online education and find out how you can take online classes for free.
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Massive Open Online Courses, dubbed MOOCs by most educators, have become the buzzword for higher education. Providing free, online education on a global, rather than a campus, level has serious implications for the world of higher education overall. Despite the obvious benefits of MOOCs (free, readily available, etc.), many educators are skeptical of their actual value in the real college experience. How exactly did MOOCs make it on the scene and what does their future hold? The answers may depend on who you ask.
 
Anatomy of a MOOC
 
According to the Washington Post, a Massive Open Online Course is a college-level class offered for free online. The courses are available to anyone with an Internet connection, whether or not they are currently enrolled in a college or university. The classes allow students to study and learn on their own time, and at any location, unlike traditional courses that follow a set schedule in a classroom.
 
MOOCs have garnered interest from a number of institutions of higher education, particularly for-profit schools and newer startups in online education. Coursera, one of the best known companies offering MOOCs at this time, has partnered with institutions like Harvard and Stanford to bring the MOOC model to those prestigious college campuses. Other MOOC companies, including Udacity and edX are also busy signing up college partners for their online courses.
 
What’s Good
 
There are obvious benefits to MOOCs, at least on the surface of the concept. Free college classes could change the face of higher education in the...
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College is a pricy endeavor today, but at least one community college is looking for a way to help students cut the cost of a college education. Tidewater Community College in Virginia has announced plans to debut a textbook-free degree program next year. College officials estimate the pilot program could cut the cost of the degree by as much as a third by the time graduation rolls around.
 
Learning Business without Textbooks
 
The Richmond-Times Dispatch reports that Tidewater Community College will be offering an associate of science degree in business administration this fall that will require no textbook purchases throughout the program. Instead, students will use open-source educational materials, known as OER, which they will be able to access through the school’s learning management system on smart phones or tablets. The college will be the first to offer a complete degree program without any textbooks required.
 
The program was developed as a partnership between Tidewater Community College and Lumen Learning; an Oregon-based company that helps schools across the country incorporate OERs into their learning plans. The founder of Lumen, David Wiley, has advocated for open-education for the past 15 years, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. However, no school has been open to the concept of a completely textbook-free degree program until now.
 
“It’s frustrating to watch these resources keep getting created, and then watch nobody use them and the students get no benefit,” Wiley stated at The Chronicle of Higher Education.
 
The Textbook Zero Model
 
The company developed the first...
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Online education has been increasing in popularity for adult students over the past decade. Yahoo Education reports that in 2010, 27 percent of adults a degree-granting institutions were seeking their degrees online and that number is predicted to go as high as 39 percent by 2015. Today, adult students can find a wealth of options for in-demand degrees that they can earn almost exclusively from the comfort of home. Check out these online degrees you can earn in just two years or less.

Business Administration
Business degrees are relatively easy to earn online and offer a variety of options in today’s workforce. Online education is an appropriate replica of the current business world, since much of today’s administrative work is handled via the Internet. For those interested in a professional career in this field, business administration offers a solid foundation that opens the door to a variety of business occupations. With studies in accounting, human resources and management, you can hone your professional skills for the 21st century workforce without ever straying far from your home computer.
 
Paralegal Studies
The paralegal field is one of the fastest growing occupations today, according to Yahoo Education. The website cites numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that predict this field to grow by 24 percent between 2008 and 2018. Paralegal professionals work alongside attorneys in their practices, conducting research, writing briefs and educating clients about their cases. The average annual salary for paralegals today ranges from around $46,000 to $70,000.
 
Nursing
Most...
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Community colleges strive to operate as institutions of higher education that meet the needs of many today. Convenience and flexibility are the mantra of these schools that host adult students with a wide range of family and professional responsibilities. To achieve those goals, many community colleges across the country are increasing their selection of online and hybrid courses, allowing many busy students to get in at least a portion of their study time from the comfort of home. As the demand for online coursework continues to grow, community colleges grapple with how to provide ultimate flexibility to students without sacrificing instructional quality or completion rates to give students the education options they are asking for.
 
The Growth of Online Options
 
Online courses have been increasing at community colleges nationwide since 2005, according to a recent report at Santa Ynez Valley News. The publication cites a report, titled, “Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011,” which showed that 32 percent more students took an online course during fall 2011 term. That means more than 6.7 million community college students took advantage of online opportunities during that semester alone.
 
The number marks a significant increase in online courses from the same semester in 2008, when just 4.6 million students at community colleges took an online course. The 2008 numbers were a 17-percent increase from 2007, suggesting an uptick in the demand for online courses overall. In fact, the Marin Independent Journal states that online courses have increased...
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Looking for a new career but don’t have the time for re-training? Think again. Community colleges across the country offer fully online degree and certification programs that allow you to hone your skills or train for a whole new profession right from home. These online programs are flexible without sacrificing quality training you need to move ahead in the professional world. Whether your interests lean toward education, law enforcement, business or manufacturing, check out these online degree programs that could launch you on a whole new career path.

Forensic Studies
 
Hudson Valley Community College offers an online degree program in forensic studies for those who want to learn the finer points of this area of criminal justice. The program is available fully online and is designed specifically for students interested in transferring to a four-year program after earning an associate degree. The school has arranged for a seamless transfer process with John Jay College of Criminal Justice, one of the top institutions for forensic science training in the country. Coursework will include interesting subjects like biology, criminal investigation and forensic evidence.
 
Teaching Assistant
 
Another online option at Hudson Valley is training toward certification as a teaching assistant in New York. The 18-hour course is available fully online, in the classroom, or as a hybrid program combining both online and classroom learning. The program is focused on training educators to manage a diverse body of students in the classroom, with the option to transfer credits to a two...
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