Online learning is one of the most rapidly growing areas of education. It is expected to continue expanding as more colleges and universities increase their offerings and today's undergraduate students, already comfortable with technology and online learning, begin their graduate and professional development coursework. Online learning has earned a level of respect, no longer being viewed as suspect or just an easy way to earn a credit or grade.
According to the Sloan Consortium, a group of institutions and organizations committed to quality online learning, e-learning is now part of mainstream education:
* 65 percent of schools offering graduate face-to-face courses also offer graduate courses online.
* 63 percent of schools offering undergraduate face-to-face courses also offer undergraduate courses online.
* Among all schools offering face-to-face master's degree programs, 44 percent also offer master's programs online.
The 2005 Sloan report also reported a 22.9-percent overall increase in the number of students taking one or more online courses, growing from 1.60 to 1.98 million students (Sloan Consortium 2005 report summary, http://www.sloan-c.org/resources/survey.asp).
Last spring I visited with three long-time colleagues who, like me, became online instructors. We agreed that teaching online is enjoyable, challenging, and stimulating.
The Online Learning Experience
What's it like to take an online class? In this article, we'll hear from graduate students who have taken multiple online courses from several universities, fulfilling a need to earn course credits toward a degree or to meet professional development goals. One person stated she had taken 14 online courses just because she is a "poster-child" for online learning and a true lifelong learner.
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