In 1999, Mark Bonner of PricewaterhouseCoopers accurately predicted, “Online learning will rapidly become one of the most cost-effective ways to educate the world’s expanding workforce.” Fifteen years later, his statement is truer than ever, as the price of going to a four-year university skyrockets, and technology required to get the same degree online becomes more available. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, from 2000 to 2010, the average cost for undergraduate tuition, room, and board at public institutions increased over forty percent.
There is good reason for the growth in online learning in college environments. Student populations have diversified since the introduction of the personal computer and internet (O’Malley and McCraw). Students with geographic, job, or other constraints are now able to benefit from a college education because advances in technology have enabled learning for those for whom higher education was previously not within the realm of possibility.
There are also many conveniences and benefits to taking an online class over a traditional, face-to-face class. Many students benefit logistically, financially, and from the course structure itself. Online classes provide the student with more opportunities to be successful in their coursework. Online courses can be completed based on the student's own schedule, provide for faster and less nervous interactions with instructors, and in many cases, are more educationally beneficial setting alternatives to traditional, face-to-face classes. In fact, Sixty-seven percent of academic professionals evaluated online courses as equivalent to as or better than face-to-face courses (Lytle).
Development of online courses began when persona...
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O'Malley, John, and Harrison McCraw. "Students perceptions of distance learning, online learning and the traditional classroom." Online journal of distance learning administration [Online] 2.4 (1999). Web. 10 Jan. 2014
Smith, Steven Bradford, Sean Joseph Smith, and Randall Boone. "Increasing access to teacher preparation: The effectiveness of traditional instructional methods in an online learning environment." Journal of Special Education Technology [Online] 15.2 (2000): 37-46. Web. 10 Jan. 2014