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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We look at the increase in online course offerings at community colleges across the country, and why this option is becoming more popular with some students.
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. . .read more
Consider some of the most popular online options at community colleges today that allow students to earn two-year degrees right from the comfort of home.
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.
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.
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. . .read more
In an effort to compete with for-profit schools, New York community colleges have launched an alliance to offer distance learning to make classes more accessible to students.
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. . .read more
We examine the pros and cons of distance education and the options for potential community college students weighing this option. Are online classes right for you?
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 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 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,. . .read more
A new study from the Institute of Higher Education Policy recommends prisoners to attend community college courses via distance learning. Learn about the surprising study and its potential benefits for incarcerated individuals and general society.
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