Five hottest questions about online education

Trends indicate online learning appealing to more students and employers.

Trends indicate online learning appealing to more students and employers.

Since it’s been a record-breaking, sizzling summer, here are the 5 hottest questions students and employers have about online learning.
1. What does it take to be a successful online learner?
Demand for online education continues to grow as individuals look to become more marketable in a challenging and competitive labor market. Here are three tips for successful online learning:
•  Time Management & Organization: Plan early and be disciplined every week
•  Developed Writing Skills: Effectively express yourself in writing
•  Participation & Sharing: Engage with fellow students and instructors right away
2. What types of students take online classes?
Currently, Globe University’s online college is split roughly by 70% female and 30% male—the average student is 32 years of age. It’s important to note, this quarter we have students seeking degrees who are between the ages 18 and 69. Also, we have students from all 50 states taking classes together in CampusConnect, our virtual learning environment.
Online courses aren’t just for 100%-online students either. Roughly 35-40% of our on-campus students take one online course each quarter. To learn more about growth and acceptance of online education, check out this infographic.

Pearson: Going the Distance infographic preview

3. Are online classes equal to traditional classes?
Online education isn’t just a far-fetched concept that only certain specialty schools offer. Instead, it’s everywhere. Some of the most well-known public and private institutions, such as MIT and Harvard, are now promoting their online courses. With more and more schools offering online options, it makes us all work harder to better attract and exceed expectations for our students.
A recent U.S. Department of Education study confirms the validity of online education: “Students in online conditions performed modestly better, on average, than those learning the same material through traditional face-to-face instruction.”
4. How do employers view online education?
I’d love to say online education is wholeheartedly accepted by everyone. However, we know there are still some doubters out there. I believe the stigma of online education is starting to fade.
This is supported by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). In an August 2010 hiring and attitudes poll SHRM reported, “79% of organizations indicated that they had hired a job applicant with an online degree in the last 12 months.”
My hope is employers will continue to see the value of online learning. Our team of dedicated Career Services staff is actively working with employers to foster relationships for our graduates.
5. What makes your online courses different?
Similar to what LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman recently said, we like to think we are in a “permanent beta” regarding the development and revisions of our online curriculum. We are always actively working to bring students and instructors together for live, real-time and interactive learning.
Our online courses are consistent with the common curriculum delivered in our physical classrooms. Although tailored to fit online delivery, we don’t shortcut or skimp on anything. We use the same syllabi, textbooks and learning outcome assessments.

Seth Tesdall

About the Author
Seth Tesdall is the regional director for the Online Division of the Globe Education Network (GEN), which includes Globe University, Minnesota School of Business and Broadview University.