Connecting to Your Future
Online courses offer convenience and control for continuing education and more
The world around us is rapidly changing. Technology is advancing at an exponential rate. Innovations are changing the way we live, work and interact. And the world is becoming larger, yet smaller at the same time.
It’s no coincidence then that the way we learn is also evolving. Which is one of the reasons that colleges and universities are branching out from their ivy-covered walls to take education to a more virtual level. Instead of students going to class, class is now going to the students via online courses.
Online courses are a win/win for both individuals and institutions of higher learning. For colleges and universities, it’s a great way to extend education to more people without needing to increase dorm accommodations or hire additional staff. It also generates a new revenue stream that was previously untapped.
For individuals who are interested in continuing education, online courses are extremely affordable in relation to traditional, on-campus schooling. They are convenient in that students do not have to be on the same timetable as their professors, so people with full- or part-time jobs can review course work when it fits into their schedule, as long as work is completed by the designated date(s). And online courses provide an educational opportunity to those who may not be in close proximity to a college or university without having to relocate.
Let’s take a look at four different groups of people and how online courses can be especially beneficial to each.
Rising High School Seniors
For high school students who are planning to continue on to college, the competition for getting accepted is fierce. You may want to consider taking an online course or two during the summer between your junior and senior years of high school to show the college or university of your choice how seriously you want to attend that school.
According to statistics, at least 40 percent of graduating high school seniors are not properly prepared for college-level studies and must enroll in remedial math, reading or writing classes during their freshman year in college. Talk with the Admissions Office at the school you are interested in to see if taking one of these courses online can be used to satisfy any remedial requirements they may have and if it will improve your changes of being accepted.
If you have already received acceptance letters and have made your choice on which school you’d like to attend, give some thought to taking a few online courses over the summer before you start. There are generally two summer semesters available that run six weeks each so you can get a jump on completing some core requirement classes before you officially begin your college career.
For those students who would like to attend college but have no idea what subject matter to pursue, taking online courses over the summer (perhaps even into the first semester of what would be your freshman year) is an excellent way to see what sparks your interest.
People Seeking Degrees
Online courses are a great option for people who started a degree program through traditional channels, but were forced to abandon the goal for one reason or another. Check with your school’s Registrar’s Office to see if you can complete your degree program via online courses.
Online courses are also an excellent option for those who have completed a bachelor’s-level program and are interested in getting an advanced degree. Contact the school or your choice to see what their requirements are and to submit an application.
People Seeking Marketability
In an economic environment where competition for existing jobs is intense, online courses make sense for individuals who want to keep current and set themselves apart from the pack. Online courses can help students learn a specific subject or area of interest, or upgrade knowledge or skill levels to be more marketable.
Online courses can also be used to gain certain certifications in areas such as Agile Knowledge Management, Project Management and Manufacturing Engineering. In addition, some professional associations require individuals
to take a certain number of Professional Development courses annually to be able to renew their business license. Many of these kinds of courses are available online.
People Who Love to Learn
For those who are simply interested in learning for learning’s sake, online course are a great way to explore different fields of interest without making a commitment to going back to school full time. Many colleges and universities offer online courses that can earn college credit, as well as non-credit courses.
Of course, taking online courses will never replace the full value of a campus college experience, which is all about maturing, learning how to engage with other people and building a solid network of like-minded colleagues. But when it comes to overall convenience, value and expanded opportunities to learn, online courses are a great supplementalalternative.