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Online education sees gains over past few years

About one-third of all higher education students in US take an online course, report finds

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Posted: Saturday, April 7, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 11:52 am, Fri Apr 5, 2013.

Enrollment in online, post-secondary courses has increased faster than overall higher education enrollment over the last eight years, according to the Babson Research Group’s 2011 report on online education.

According to the report, 31 percent of all higher education students in the U.S. now take at least one course online, up from 9.6 percent in 2002.

This consistent increase of online enrollments has been just as apparent at Wayne State over the last decade.During the 2002-2003 academic year,298 WSU students took an online course.By the 2010-2011 year, this number had increased to 16,237, according to WSU’s Office of Online Programs.

WSU offers six degree programs that are taught completely online, and ran 597 online courses in the 2010-2011 academic year.

James Mazoué, Director of Online Programs, said that one goal for the office is to increase the number of online courses that are offered at WSU, especially general education requirements, to enable students to progress with their degree more effectively.

Geralyn Stephens, online instructor at WSU for the last 15 years, said that teaching online takes practice and dedication. She has found herself online at all times, even “online at the grocery store,” to be constantly available to her students.

Stephens said her students take online courses for their flexibility, and Kaitlin Muklewicz, a third-year anthropology student at WSU, said that she decided to enroll in online courses because they were more convenient with her class schedule.

Muklewicz said each of the three classes she took had its ups, such as working at her own pace, and downs, including inconsistencies with professors and difficulties communicating with classmates.

Muklewicz also said that being required to teach herself made the classes harder and therefore she did not learn as much as she might have in a classroom course. She would, however, “definitely recommend online classes in general to other students.”

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