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More Colleges and Universities Changing to Online Models

The landscape of college education is undergoing exponential change. Traditional colleges and universities, strapped for cash during an economic downturn and with rising tuition costs, are considering shifts to online pay-per-class models.

Distance learning, once considered an option, is now being considered a necessity. According to a study by Brigham Young University and University of Michigan researchers, more and more students are forced by economic realities to combine their education with an active working life. Students, the researchers said, are shopping online for the best education deals.

The principal considerations among today's more mature, career-focused student population are centered around costs, flexibility in scheduling, and shorter time commitments to satisfy training requirements. In a reflection of those realities, colleges & online schools are responding by recruiting non-tenured faculty members to offer single courses or several courses bundled in a specialization.

How Learning Has Changed

Researchers now report that learning--once considered part of a comprehensive, campus-based omnibus curriculum--is shifting toward the nonlinear, user-centered, self-paced model. With courses offered with a "global reach", online learning brings high-quality education to students who cannot afford campus fees, commuting costs (gas and parking), or to those who have disabilities.

Moreover, the researchers say, educational goals among the computer-literate, distance-learning population is shifting from the notion of completing courses toward gaining skills or documenting professional competency. More and more, private schools are creating partnerships with technology companies in an effort to offer accelerated career training to busy people.

Bursting at the Seams
A report delivered to the University Continuing Education Association predicts that, in 2009, the single-largest high school graduating population in American history will move into the workplace or toward post-secondary education.

With withering economic fortunes in the country, many will turn toward online colleges, trade techs, or vocational schools that offer flexible schedules. Some will take the opportunity to complete their general education requirements and earn associates degrees online, further reducing the long-term cost of their education.

Source
Thirty-two Trends Affecting Distance Education

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