The online learning phenomenon impacts higher education; 17.3M students enrolled in 2021 – St George News | #education | #technology | #training


For illustrative purposes only, a college student sips coffee during an online learning session |
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ST. GEORGE — Online learning is nothing new. Even institutions for higher education have popped up, partially or fully online since the University of Phoenix launched its fully online baccalaureate and master’s programs in 1989 on Compuserve.

For illustrative purposes only, a college student works to complete an online assignment | Photo by Dumitru
Strelciuc, iStock / Getty Image Plus, St. George News

During the pandemic, 98% of universities in the U.S. switched to remote learning. Since then, more students are continuing with online study, with 17.3 million students in the U.S. studying online in 2021 – either full-time or partially.

Research from Bay Atlantic University found that:

  • 85% of students agreed that online learning helped improve their critical thinking and problem solving.
  • 60% of students agreed that online learning helped improve further soft skills.
  • 63% of students committed to online learning because it aligned better with their lifestyle.
  • 34% of students said online learning is their preferred way of learning.
  • The fields with the most online learners for undergraduate degrees were business (26%), Computers and I.T. (15%) and Arts and Humanities (15%).

Top U.S. universities for online learning

With that being said, experts at ProWritingAid have ranked the top universities in the U.S. for online study, using data from U.S. Bachelor Programmes Ranking Indicator. The ranking compared the following factors:

Engagement Score – This measures student satisfaction and instructor responsiveness. The maximum possible value is 100.

Faculty Credentials and Training Score – This measures how well a school prepares qualified instructors to teach remotely. The maximum possible value is 100.

Services and Technologies Score – This measures how well a school prepares qualified instructors to teach remotely. The maximum possible value is 100.

Expert Opinion Score – scored by experts. The maximum possible value is five.

The scores were then tallied up to reveal the top online universities in the U.S.

In first place, with a total score of 267.2 out of 305, is the Medical School of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina. The university scored highly for engagement, 88 out of 100, and received 100 out of 100 for faculty credentials and training. 100% of the class of 2022 also secured a residency position – with 16.6% pursuing internal medicine.

Coming in second, with a score of 263.5 out of 305, is the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona, Florida. Embry-Riddle also received the highest score for services and technology.

Third place was awarded to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, receiving 253.5 out of 305, scoring highly for engagement, 90 out of 100, and faculty credentials and training, 94 out of 100.

The list also includes Ohio State University, Columbus, with a score of 245.5 out of 305, North Carolina State University, with 242.4, and The University of Central Florida, with a score of 231.9.

The study was conducted by ProWritingAid, which offers world-class grammar and style checking combined with more in-depth reports to help users strengthen their writing.

Learners accessing online learning

Other facts revealed by the ProWriting Aid study include the following:

  • The U.S. leads the way, with 17.3 million online students, followed by India at 13.6 million.
  • Many students opt for online courses because of the lower overall costs. While tuition per credit may be the same as on-campus, students will not have to pay for on-campus housing, meal plans, or travel costs.
  • Many students feel as though the flexibility of online learning may fit better with their lifestyle. Many online courses run asynchronously, meaning you can study around your schedule, rather than adhering to a typical university day.
  • Juggling work, life and school is not an easy thing to do. However, employers recognize this and admire the time management skills it takes, which can be beneficial when it comes to applying for positions after graduating.
  • Students in online programs come not only from the U.S. but all over the world. As a result, class discussions feature a broader range of perspectives, helping to enhance students’ cross-cultural understanding, and allowing the opportunity to interact with different nationalities and cultures.
  • The online degree also equates to strong technical skills, a definite plus for any job seeker. Students utilize digital learning materials, often get familiar with new tools and software, and troubleshoot common issues, which will benefit them when it comes to employment.

Written by MARIA CAITRIONA, The Associated Press

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.





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