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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Students wishing to pursue higher education will now have another, more convenient option, thanks to a new alliance announced by New York community colleges. The new distance learning alliance involves six New York community colleges that will come together to offer 100-percent online degree programs in a wide range of fields. The alliance may be just the beginning of a larger movement to make prospective students aware of their distance options available through local community colleges across the state.

Online Alliance Expands Degree Choices
 
The Corning Leader reports that the State University of New York (SUNY) has announced an alliance of online learning that will provide 34 different associate degree programs through six different state community colleges. The new alliance, dubbed the Online Western New York Learning Alliance (OWL), includes: Corning, Erie, Finger Lakes, Genesee, Jamestown and Monroe Community Colleges.
 
Students will be able to complete the new degree programs completely online, eliminating time and location constraints they might have battled in the past. The movement, according to Democrat and Chronicle, is to better compete with for-profit schools that offer online programs for a higher price and often of lesser quality. The alliance provides a greater presence for online education through community colleges in the area, with the hope of attracting more students and increasing college completion rates overall.
 
“We have created this alliance so that [students] can be better informed about what we have,” Terry Keys, assistant vice president for . . . read more

Online education is becoming a prevalent option at institutions of higher education. More and more community colleges are offering students both on-site and online course choices to accommodate students’ busy schedules and geographical challenges. While online education might sound like a convenient option at first glance, this style of learning is not right for every student. Check out the pros and cons of online education before deciding whether distance learning will be the best fit for you.

Types of Online Education
 
Online education does not fit a single mold; there are many different models of distance learning utilized by community colleges today. Some of the various type of online education, listed at Campus Explore, include:
 
Asynchronous Learning
 
Asynchronous learning is a style that allows students to work at their own pace. Its primary popularity lies in its extreme flexibility; students do not have to follow a set schedule for lectures, homework assignments or other coursework. Material is generally distributed online and often includes audio or visual aids to bring the material to life. Students often have opportunities to interact with other students online, and assignments are typically delivered through an electronic bulletin board or similar format.

Synchronous Learning
 
Synchronous learning involves set times for class work, whether through physical classrooms, online chat rooms or video conferencing. Students have less flexibility with this type of learning environment, but they do have more opportunity for interaction with professors and other students. This type of learning may also be referred to as “fixed-time” courses, where students . . . read more

Incarcerated individuals are much more likely to return to prison three years after their release if they do not have access to educational opportunities beyond high school, a new study from the Institute of Higher Education Policy has found. In the report titled, "Unlocking Potential: Results of a National Survey of Postsecondary Education in State Prisons," IHEP has determined that providing prisoners with access to college education offers a benefit both to the individual and to society at large. The report was published this month on the IHEP website, and it includes recommendations for policymakers regarding prisoners currently in the system.
 
According to IHEP, there are approximately 2.3 million people in the prison system in the United States today, costing taxpayers about $52 billion each year. Without access to any sort of postsecondary education, seven of 10 formerly incarcerated individuals will return to prison within three years of their initial release. Recidivism costs states every year, which is why it is critical for policymakers to consider instituting programs within the prison system to provide prisoners with the necessary training and education to find jobs after their release.
 
The Profile of a Prisoner
 
The IHEP study found many common characteristics of incarcerated individuals vs. the general population today, including:

  • Incarcerated individuals are much more likely to come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds than the general population
  • Those in prison tend to be from racial and ethnic minorities to a higher degree than the population at large
  • Many in prison today were either working . . . read more

Looking for a way to get a college education at little or no cost? So is the current administration!
 
Last year, President Obama created a plan for community colleges that included a $500 million budget to create free online courses that could be tailored to the specific needs of students. According to Inside Higher Ed, the proposal was part of a larger plan to beef up community college services and access, preparing more Americans for practical job opportunities in the current workforce.
 
Plan Specifics
 
In addition to helping high schools come up with low-cost curriculum, the original proposal coming out of the White House offered federal funding to help community colleges develop courses that students could take absolutely free. The $500 million originally offered would be used to both create curriculum and ways to assess student performance in the courses. The efforts would be coordinated under a "National Skills College."
 
Many community colleges supported the efforts, even as they were making the move to put more and more courses online. An online curriculum makes sense to many community college students who are trying to structure their education around a professional job and family responsibilities. In light of the fact that many community college students have limited resources to spend on education, the free courses make even more sense on this level. Some college officials are even hopeful that free online courses would inspire other organizations to set up laptop programs to make computers available to low-income students.
 
Unfortunately, the Obama plan . . . read more

The advent of the internet has revolutionized society, and education has been dually impacted. With the rise in internet technologies, an increasing number of college courses are moved online – allowing students to learn with sheer convenience.  Indeed, the National Center for Education Statistics reported in 2006 that more than 62% of all community college students take courses online. 
 
Community colleges have paved the way for online courses, and students are taking note. In fact, according to research conducted by the Sloan Consortium, two-year community colleges have experienced the highest growth rate in online education, accounting for more than 50% of all online course enrollments in the past five years. The enrollment in online courses at community colleges surpasses the numbers of all other higher education programs combined. 
 
Nationally, according to the Sloan Consortium, approximately 20% of college students in America took an online course during the fall semester of 2006, which equates to 3.5 million students. In addition, the Sloan Consortium research found that the enrollment in online courses is growing at a rate significantly faster than the standard student-growth rates. 
 
Advantages to online curriculum
 
As more careers and jobs require technical skills in computing and internet research, students who do not develop these skills are quickly left behind in competitiveness. Therefore, online courses offer several benefits, such as convenient learning and an opportunity to hone your technical skills. 
 
       ·         Convenience: Taking an online course allows you to progress through the class at your own pace. If you have a job during the day, you can watch your lectures at night . . . read more
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