By Katheryn Rivas
Online education has increased by more than 20 percent in the past two years, indicating that students have embraced this unconventional mode of education. Outside factors have contributed to this rise, including the recession (and the subsequent need for students to save money), the rising costs of college, and even the H1N1 scare. Additionally, the increase in the number of traditional colleges that have begun to offer online courses has contributed to the rise in the number of online universities as this has become a popular way to earn an education.
The economy has led to a higher demand for educated workers and the amount of college students within all types of universities has risen in the past year. While much of this increase is due to the rise in online universities, it is also indicative of an economy that is shifting toward a better educated public. Online education has simply become the best fit for students who need a further education to attain a job and cannot compete with the rising costs of traditional colleges. Online universities have in a sense saved these students and offered them a cheaper alternative to attending college.
While online universities initially did not have the best reputation, the passing of the federal bill a few years ago helped boost the credibility of online schools and helped work towards a higher number of accredited online universities. Since this growth of online universities has resulted in 1 in 4 students taking online courses, traditional schools have tried to compete with online universities, offering full degree programs through distance learning. With so many options to choose from, the possibilities nearly seem endless for students of online education, possibilities which were not an option only five years ago.
The growth in online learning is only the first step in a shift in education. The next few years are bound to indicate a further rise in the availability of online courses, as online education spreads throughout the world. The sour mood of the economy has led to a surprising beneficial rise in this sector of education, something which economists could not have predicted. Students are now able to work and attend classes at their leisure, a feat which was very difficult to do in traditional schools. The easy availability of online universities has now allowed students to pick a school that caters to their schedule and their budget, as they are able to take classes from the comfort of their own home and create their own schedule.