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Online Growth and Online Teaching Degrees at University of Georgia

The Atlanta Business Journal weighs in this week with a report on what's new at the University of Georgia. Acting on the reality that most undergraduates take over five years to complete a bachelor's program, the Board of Regents for the state schools changed the core curriculum to allow for a more rapid pace through the undergraduate system.

The story also reports a substantial rise in the use of online technology by the school's undergrads. There is a 35% increase in the number of students taking online courses over the previous academic year. There are 43,000 students enrolled in one of the state university system's campuses who are taking advantage of the online courses currently available. That figure amounts to almost 15% of the system's 300,000 students, although the figure for undergraduate students is substantially lower.

The expansion of online offerings in the system is also impressive. Over the three years of its existence, the university system's searchable catalogue - Georgia ONmyLINE - has grown from thirty five degree options to sixty nine. The number of available courses has increased from about 1,600 to just under 2,870. These courses are a collection of online options that come from the system's thirty five member institutions.

The online enrollment is coming through more of the two year institutions. As with most distance learning programs the students over the age of 24 are in the majority. The online student body is 31% African American, which is slightly over the on-campus enrollment ratio.

Teaching and education degrees have been tailored to the online system in part because of the state's critical need for teachers. Georgia's education administrators project that the public school systems will need between 14,000 and 17,000 new teachers every year for the foreseeable future. As a result, the university system has developed a teacher certification online program through combined efforts of the nineteen state institutions that offer education degrees.

Separate programs have been set up for new undergraduates, for people with degrees in other disciplines, for students who want to move up from the paraprofessional teaching ranks and for mid-career professionals who want to change course. Because of the widespread participation among the various schools, student teaching hours and certification questions will not be an issue for any of the general education degrees.

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