There are a growing number of students enrolling in online college degree programs and online classes. According to a study done by the National Center for Education Statistics in fall of 2012, there were over 21 million students enrolled at Title IV Institutions. Of that 21 million, 86% of students were undergraduate students and 77% were degree or certificate-seeking. Twenty-six percent of students in this group are enrolled exclusively in distance courses or in a hybrid of online and on-campus classes and over 2.1 million (11%) were enrolled in private for-profit colleges. Almost 50% of those 2.1 million students going to a private for-profit school, were enrolled exclusively in distance or online classes or a hybrid of distance and on-campus classes (1.1 million). This means that 5% of all students enrolled at Title IV Institutions in the US are enrolled exclusively in online classes or hybrid classes at a private for-profit college.
The highest enrolling for-profit institutions, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, are University of Phoenix, Online Campus, Ashford University, Liberty University, and Kaplan University. See all online colleges and universities.
Below we cover the top 15 reasons students like online college degree programs and online classes.
- Many people participate in online courses because of the flexibility they provide. Online college degrees and programs make it possible for students to work during the day and complete their studies from their homes at nights. Those who spend a lot of time traveling due to work can also complete their education in their spare time.
- Since online education is known for its student-centered curriculum, it is an ideal means for those who learn best through this approach to acquire higher education this way.
- Students can also re-watch lectures and review notes and other online resources any time they wish. This way, if a concept is unclear, students can review it at their convenience.
- Students taking online courses are also able to participate in classroom discussions in chat rooms or online forums. If a student is shy or unable to share an opinion because of time restraints in a traditional classroom, online courses make it possible for all students to participate in discussions.
- Students taking online courses can also take classes from teachers around the country and the world. As a result, student options are not limited by geography.
- Students taking online courses will also improve their computer skills and knowledge. Since these skills and knowledge are so important in the global economy, students can greatly benefit as they look for jobs, and because students are required to correspond with their teachers and other students via email, students will improve their communication skills.
- If students have problems learning in traditional classroom settings, or have disabilities preventing them from participating in class, they can enroll in online courses. As mentioned, students that do not want to speak in class but still participate in discussions can do so in online chat forums.
- Often students are permitted to discuss nonclass related topics and list personal information about themselves in chat forums. As a result, many students make new friends and get to know their peers better.
- Teachers supervising or teaching online courses are also more assessable. Students can ask questions or discuss concerns via email instead of having to wait until a teacher’s office hours which may not suit students’ schedules.
- Students enrolled in online courses will also have the advantage of having a variety of educational materials that can be assessed anytime. As a result, students don’t have to carry heavy books around everywhere they go or wait until an item they need is returned to the library.
- In traditional classroom settings, there are often students who dominate discussions. As a result, many students do not feel they have the opportunity to participate. Students enrolled in online courses have equal opportunity to participate.
- Three-fourths of American universities and colleges provide students the opportunity to enroll in online courses. Online degrees are increasingly carrying the same weight as traditional degrees.
- Whenever student projects are assigned in traditional classrooms, it can be difficult coordinating a time and location all members of the group can meet together. However, it can be easier for students participating in online courses to work in groups since they usually discuss their project online in an online discussion forum.
- Many students enjoy taking online courses since they can complete their work at a time convenient for them and do not have to sit through long classes.
- Online education is also a great option for students wanting to enroll in courses not offered by local colleges and universities. This is especially convenient for people needing to earn a professional certificate.
Since online education accommodates work schedules and makes it possible for a wider variety of people to participate in discussions, it is becoming increasingly popular. However, this does not mean colleges and universities will begin to phase out traditional classroom learning.