Online Education Gains Popularity

By Staff
February 4, 2009

As online education become more widespread and accepted, more institutions of higher learning are adding online degrees to their curriculum.

This week, Valdosta State University in Georgia announced the creation of a new online Master of Arts for Teachers program. The program, which is slated to open for enrollment in fall 2010, will offer concentrations in middle or high school education.

"These degrees are part of our effort to supply additional, high quality teachers to our region," said Dr. Louis Levy, VSU provost.

Meanwhile, MSNBC [from an article originally located at] reports that Anaheim University, a completely online school located in California, received full national accreditation this month from the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), a commission established in 1926. The accreditation will help facilitate acceptance of credits and degrees by other academic institutions, and will qualify the school for federal aid.

"As one of the world's first online universities, we faced a lot of resistance back in the mid 90s when we introduced the concept of online education," noted David Bracey, managing director of development. "To see that we are being recognized for what we created through the gaining of full national accreditation makes me feel it has all been worth it."

Anaheim University primarily focuses its attention on the Asian market, offering programs such as Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Business Administration, and Sustainable Management.

The push for online degrees reflects a wider trend gaining momentum in the United States as students search for more accessible and affordable options in higher education. The Washington Post notes that more than 3.9 million students took at least one online course in 2007 - a 12 percent increase from the previous year - according to the Sloan Consortium, an online education advocacy group.

That figure will likely increase further as students search for additional edges to help them land lucrative employment in the current difficult job market. The Census Bureau noted, for example, that in 2007, people with graduate or professional degrees earned an average of $61,000 in 2007, compared to $47,000 for those with just a bachelor's degree.

Even high schools are beginning to embrace online learning, notes Minneapolis' Minnesota offers significant online learning opportunities, allowing students to complete schoolwork at late hours and sleep later in the morning. The article quotes Harvard business school professor Clayton Christensen, who predicts that in 10 years, half of all high school classes will be online.

Some of the more well-known schools offering online degrees include DeVry University and University of Phoenix. In addition, many traditional universities offer online courses.

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