In 1863, the University of Massachusetts was founded under its original name, the Massachusetts Agricultural College. It later changed its name to the Massachusetts State College and was renamed again in 1947 with the name it now holds. The university has offered distance programs for more than 25 years and in 2001, founded its online division, the University of Massachusetts Online, referred to as UMassOnline. Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), UMassOnline offers a wide-range of degrees, consisting of associate, master's, doctoral, and professional development degrees and certificate programs. In its 11 years of providing education to online students, UMassOnline has proven to be one of the top universities in Massachusetts; it has won over 20 education awards, including having its business and communications programs ranked as one of the top 10 online universities by The Best Colleges. Its faculty is also comprised of award-winners, including Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize winners.
Northeastern University was founded in 1898 and is also one of Massachusetts' NEASC-accredited online universities. It has presented students with distance educational options since 1974, and today offers more than 60 bachelor and online masters degree programs; it also offers doctoral and certificate programs. Northeastern's online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program was ranked in Princeton Review's 2010 Best Northeastern Colleges.
Massachusetts is a leader in such industries as education, energy, and travel, according to Export.gov. Those hoping to work in these industries, or increase their career's growth, may find an online college education to be the most convenient. A teacher in the education industry might seek an online Master of Education from any one of the listed online colleges and universities in Massachusetts. A recent high school graduate interested in the energy industry, may find a bachelor's degree in renewable energy to be helpful in his or her career pursuits. Someone who wishes to work in the travel industry could seek an online bachelor's degree in tourism management to get a jump start of his or her career.
An online education, whether it be a full degree or just a few classes, offers students a flexible learning experience. Online classes require that students have consistent access to the Internet and participate in the same activities as a traditional course. Students must keep up with assigned reading and may participate in class discussions as well. Homework assignments and projects are usually uploaded via a university student portal or emailed to a professor. Exams are similar, though some courses may require students to go to a proctored testing center. Once a student enrolls in a course, they have a designated period of time to complete their assignments, usually between six and nine months, though this varies between schools.