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Factors that Influence Online Educational Demand
The internet has given people the opportunity to attend college no matter where they live or what their work schedule might be. Online classes are available year–round from most colleges and universities. The convenience of taking classes online made it possible for me to complete my masters’ degree in two years while working fulltime and raising a family. Taking classes online gave me the freedom to spend extended time with my elderly mother who lives in South Carolina. While on vacation in Atlantic City, I finished several papers, submitted them before the midnight deadline and was able to enjoy my vacation.
The tough economy has forced many people to reevaluate their job skills with many deciding to further their education. Graduating college seniors are now signing up for advanced degrees at a higher rate than ever before. The majority of these students, my youngest daughter included, work fulltime and take classes online.
It is a rare individual that does not have to work at least part time. The flexibility of online classes offers an added incentive to pursue a college degree. Many mornings I would wake at 4:00 am to work on my homework and have it turned in by 7:00 am before I headed to work. Online classes are also perfect for stay at home Moms. My oldest daughter has a new baby and is continuing to finish her bachelor’s degree, staying home with the new baby, and preparing for a better paying job when she returns to the workforce.
Providing online classes enables colleges to add more students without having to build additional classrooms. Think about the savings an online student provides a college: the online student pays the utility bills, the internet provider service, and is responsible for providing their own classroom. These are huge savings for a college, thus making online students more profitable than “on campus” students. The online student does not require a dorm room or a parking space.
Online classes provide access to the highest caliber professors without having to physically attend the college where they teach. If there is a particular professor at a UCLA that you want to take a class with and you live in Virginia, an online class is the solution. Students are able to cross political, physical and economic obstacles with a computer and an internet connection.
An exciting aspect of online classes for me was the chance to interact with other students all over the world. Every online class I have taken has included working on projects via the internet with other members of the class. Reading and responding to each other’s posts enabled me to become acquainted with a much more varied assortment of fellow students than I have had when I attended a “brick and mortar” school.
Online education is the future for not only four year degrees, advanced degrees, but also for technical certificates and associates degrees. Economics appears to be the driving factor in the rising popularity of online education. Reduced costs for colleges to educate online students, less expensive for students studying at home, and the flexibility of online classes make taking online classes more and more attractive.