The Online College Experience Just Might Be Perfect For You

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April 10, 2022,

What is the point of going to college?

Hard to answer that question exactly because there are various points as to why you should attend and graduate from college.

The question and conversation many are now having, during and after the Covid crisis is, should you go to a brick and mortar college or attend college online?

In a January 2022 report, the team at weforum.org, “More than 20 million new learners registered for courses in 2021. In 2016, 21 million students registered for Coursera’s online courses, a number that increased annually by around 7 million over the next two years.”

That is quite a surge and not surprising at all.

Why go to college?

For many it is to obtain a great degree that will effectively help them get a high paying job.

For others, that is still a major motivation, but make no mistake about it, attending a Division One, Power Five, brick and mortar university is also about the parties, sororities, televised football and basketball games while you sit in the stands, dating and about meeting your future life partner.

In our circle, most would want to live the entire college experience.

Understood.

Still, if your circumstance dictate that you stay home, research indicates, an online degree is just as good as a brick and mortar one.

As educated by bestcolleges.com, “Online programs are absolutely worth it, depending on the student’s circumstances. Just like degrees earned on campus, online degrees are widely respected by employers.”

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Most of our research indicates that is true.

Time for a closer look at online learning.

Online learning involves courses offered by primary institutions that are 100% virtual.

Online learning, or virtual classes offered over the internet, is contrasted with traditional courses taken in a brick-and-mortar school building.

The learner experience is typically asynchronous but may also incorporate synchronous elements.

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The vast majority of institutions utilize a learning management system for the administration of online courses. As theories of distance education evolve, digital technologies to support learning and pedagogy continue to transform as well.

Most online learning occurs through a college’s or university’s learning management system (LMS). A LMS is a software application for maintaining, delivering, and tracking educational resources. According to the Educause Center for Analysis and Research (ECAR) use of a LMS is nearly ubiquitous as 99% of colleges and universities report having one in place.

Among faculty, 87% report using a LMS and find them useful for “enhancing teaching (74%) and student learning (71%)” (p. 10). Similarly, 83% of students use an LMS for their learning, with the majority (56%) using them in most or all courses.

As we suspected. Good to know.

What about the costs?

The informative group at usnews.com, “The average per credit price for online programs at the 168 private colleges that reported this information is $488 – lower than the average tuition price for on-campus programs at ranked private colleges, which is $1,240 among the 113 colleges that reported this information.”

That is quite a spread.

What it comes down to is what you want? If you are young, and your family can afford it, attending a major university in person is mostly likely your dream.

If you are older and your circumstances have become busier and more complicated, than an Online Degree could be ideal.

Nothing like firsthand experience to use as an example of what might be available.

Westminster College Launching Accelerated But Flexible Online Degree Program for Working Adults and Other Nontraditional Students

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News provided by

Westminster College

Apr 07, 2022, 10:00 ET

FULTON, Mo., April 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Westminster College is launching an accelerated but flexible, fully accredited online degree program beginning in the fall 2022 semester, the 171-year-old liberal arts institution announced today.

The program, called Westminster Online, is enrolling now and will offer bachelor’s degrees in two of Westminster’s most sought-after programs ― Business Administration and Psychology ― while also offering a new degree in Organizational Leadership.

College officials said Westminster Online is suitable for anyone seeking an undergraduate degree, but it is uniquely geared to working adults, those in active military, veterans, and others interested in a non-traditional approach to college education.

Online Program Director Tanys Nelson explained that Westminster Online courses allow students to finish courses in seven weeks instead of the usual eight to 16, allowing busy students to complete their degrees as quickly as possible.

“Online students will receive the same high-quality education that has consistently garnered Westminster a strong academic reputation, where students choose from more than 30 majors and 40 minors while studying to be global leaders,” Nelson said.

She added that although Westminster Online is accelerated, students have the flexibility to jump in and jump out of the program if life circumstances get in the way of a faster-moving schedule.

President and Chief Transformation Officer Donald P. Lofe, Jr., said the decision to offer an online degree program is part of a comprehensive strategic plan that was unanimously adopted by Westminster’s Board of Trustees in August 2021.

“Westminster Online is a significant initiative within our strategic plan and is designed to make Westminster a more diversified and multifaceted institution of higher education well into the future, all while maintaining its long-established educational standards and traditions of an on-campus institution,” Lofe explained.

Westminster Online costs $363 per credit hour, which is comparable to other online programs and less expensive than attending college in a more traditional campus setting. Despite this difference, Nelson said students can expect the same personalized experience as those enrolled in the Westminster campus community.

“Students will be able to interact with faculty for academic needs and receive 24/7 concierge support for technical assistance, while typical campus services accessed during regular business hours, such as billing services and financial aid, are just a phone call, Zoom meeting, or email away,” she said.

Westminster’s campus is where Winston Churchill delivered his “Iron Curtain” speech in 1946. Since then, dignitaries such as former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Madeleine Albright, a number of U.S. presidents, and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, to name just a few luminaries, all chose to address the world from Westminster’s deceptively humble location.

Westminster Online students can expect to attend speaker and other events virtually.

“The goal is the same for Westminster Online students as it is for campus students: to be able to excel professionally and personally after they finish their degrees,” Nelson said.

About Westminster College: Founded in 1851, Westminster College is ranked prestigiously by U.S. News & World Report as the only National Liberal Arts College in Missouri. To find out more about Westminster, please visit WCMO.edu.

SOURCE Westminster College

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https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/01/online-learning-courses-reskill-skills-gap/

https://www.bestcolleges.com/blog/is-an-online-degree-worth-it/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_learning_in_higher_education

https://www.phoenix.edu/blog/cost-of-online-vs-traditional-college.html

https://www.usnews.com/higher-education/online-education/articles/what-youll-pay-for-an-online-bachelors-degree

https://www.phoenix.edu/blog/cost-of-online-vs-traditional-college.html

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