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Distance Learning On the Rise in Colorado

Colorado Mountain College (CMC) is seeing a lot of growth lately. Not in the physical sense, however. Classrooms aren't getting overcrowded, and deans aren't scrambling to open any new lecture halls. Instead, it's all over the internet, as online course enrollment increases by 29% compared to the previous fall semester.

By the middle of September, over one thousand students were enrolled CMC's distance learning programs for the fall semester -- 268 more than last fall's numbers. There are many reasons one can speculate on for why the numbers have jumped, but the economy is certainly a top suspect. Many students are returning to school to brush up on skills to change or upgrade career path. "Certainly the difficult economy has brought more students to the college who are seeking further education or retraining," said College vice president Dale Yarrow, speaking to local newspaper Vail Daily about CMC's role in the matter. "We are trying to help meet that need with additional online classes."

Those needs are certainly being met: math and science degrees are reportedly popular, but the most in-demand degrees CMC offers are social science and business degrees. Another major contender is the college's new medical training program, which expects to see some heavy traffic this year.

Such an enrollment increase that big can prompt some major overhauls to meet growing student needs, and Colorado Mountain College (CMC) is on board to meet those needs with the addition of two new online associate degrees. Students can now earn now earn an Associate of Arts or an Associate of General Studies from their own home. Yarrow also addressed the necessity of online degree programs, saying "We have many students whose schedules do not allow them to attend classes in traditional formats... For those who need a fully online option, we are now able to meet that need."

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