Online education is becoming increasingly more popular as the quality and quantity of online degree programs expands. A few short years ago the perception of many professionals in the corporate world was that these degree programs were substandard. If that ever were the case, it is definitely no longer.
As the market embraced the expanding need for online education to cater to working adults, the programs achieved higher quality year after year. At this point most degree programs offered online are at least par with traditional programs and in many cases are much preferred by the working public. Online accredited universities can be easily found with a quick online search.
Most colleges now understand the value of having Internet based teaching modules in one way or another. The technology is too valuable and widespread not to take advantage of it. According to the Sloan Consortium’s report of 2007, 5 years after the roll out of online education, there were almost 3.5 million students taking an online course during the fall of 2006. In addition to that there was a growth rate of almost 10% in online enrollments vs. the 1.5% growth of all educational enrollment combined. This in and of itself testifies to the strength and market of online education. I am sure the statistics have even expanded since that last report.
Taking an online course is quite tough. In a traditional setting it is possible to ask friends or classmates questions and get answers very quickly. While this may be an efficient use of time, working online through email or through a newsgroup setting requires the student to research answers to their questions in much more depth than otherwise. My experience is that the person walks away with a much more profound answer to their question, and that answer is now internalized into their knowledge base.
As a person that spent almost 8 years in traditional schooling and then another 2 years in online education, I can speak with experience that they both have their upsides and downsides. However, for the working adult online degree programs are absolutely the way to go. No longer is it a requirement that you need to quit your job, put your spouse to work, and head off to the bookstore. You now have the educational opportunities to advance your career right at your keyboard.
There are obvious degree programs that make sense to receive at a traditional institution. Anything that requires hands on lab work is an example. But even some of these are being addressed by remote and online institutions.
Most everyone understands the need to educate themselves to increase their financial value to the corporate community. For those that are in a situation where they have families and / or need to work online education is most definitely an alternative that will take you far in your chosen career.