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Online Class Enrollments Rising

Many higher education institutions are embracing and responding to the increasing numbers of students who register for online courses as an alternative to the traditional classroom. According to the Babson Survey Research Group’s 2012 study, 32 percent of higher education students in the United States had enrolled in at least one online course.

Some institutions, like Hancock College and Santa Barbara City College in California, are finding that their student enrollments for online classes are increasing at a higher rate than their overall enrollments.

“Online classes have been growing as a modality statewide and nationwide really quickly since about 2005 or so,” Nancy Meddings, academic dean of distance learning at Hancock, told the Santa Ynez Valley News. “These are folks with job responsibilities, and these are folks with family responsibilities.”

Other institutions across the state have responded to the growth in online enrollments by expanding their current distance learning offerings. Last month, the California State University (Cal State) System launched Cal State Online, offering students the opportunity to earn a limited number of bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees from three Cal State campuses. The full Cal State Online program is expected to launch in the fall.

“So far I think our students are very happy with the program,” Jenny Zhang, program director at Cal State Fullerton, told the Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA).

Online courses provide more flexibility and accessibility to adult students with various responsibilities that differ from their traditional-aged peers.

“Almost all of our students are working full time, and it’s hard for them to come to campus, so this is a good solution,” Zhang told the Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA).