Down economy sends many people back to schoolA recent turbulent economy has inspired many professionals to seek more education, as these initiatives could more attractive in the job market. Many universities and colleges are beginning to offer more online classes as a means to keep up with the increased flow of students who are pouring into these institutions and pursuing advanced degrees.

In an effort to entice more students to upgrade their degree and benefit the local economy, Henry Ford Community College (HFCC) has been offering more online classes. The Dearborn, Michigan-based school has seen almost twice as many students enroll in online courses as they did three years ago, reports The Press and Guide.

College officials told the news source that online courses drew in 6,603 students during the fall 2009 semester, which is an increase from 3,289 two years earlier.

“I think there’s no question there’s incredible student interest in online learning,” Gail Mee, president of the school, told the news source.

School trustees recently released the 2009-10 Indictors of Effectiveness report, which indicated that nearly two-thirds of all students were enrolled in career and technical programs that are designed to prepare them directly for the workforce. The remaining enrollees were pursuing arts and sciences tracks with the intention of transferring to a four-year school.

Ohio schools see boosts in college enrollment

The University System of Ohio has shown a growth in enrollment for the third straight year, according to The News-Messenger. The Ohio Board of Regents notes that Terra Community College (TCC) was a big reason why more students are seeking higher education within the state.

College officials report strong increases in online learning and students transferring to schools within the state, rather than attending schools elsewhere in the U.S., are helping Ohio become a higher education leader throughout the nation. Furthermore, community college enrollment was up throughout the Ohio, showing nearly a 4 percent growth over last year.

“Ohio needs more workers with certificates and degrees to compete for jobs and investment. Today’s figures show we continue to enroll more Ohioans in the state’s public system of higher education,” Eric D. Fingerhut, Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor, told the news source. “We must build on these gains and continue working towards making the University System of Ohio the best in the nation at driving economic growth.”

According to the 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning, the number of enrollments in web-based programs has grown by nearly 1 million students over the past year. Furthermore, approximately 30 percent of all college and university students take at least one online course.

Illinois school credits online classes for enrollment growth

Studies from the University of Illinois-Springfield find that six out of every 10 students who are enrolled at the school are taking online classes rather than the on-campus option, reports The State Journal-Register.

Officials told the news source that online students are required to upload detailed comments and interact with classmates for every lesson, which helps remedy one person taking over the class discussion.

“You can have a great class discussion on campus but have only five of the 20 students participate,” Will Miller UIS professor, told the news source. “Online, if you are not verbally facile and need more time to collect your thoughts, you can type what you want to say, then save it and edit it.”

The school offers 17 degree and degree-completion programs online. Furthermore, some departments are requiring that core classes be available over the Internet. Part of the school’s web-based repertoire includes courses in English, math, philosophy, business administration and history.

College officials added that nearly 37 percent of all credits taken at the school are available through online classes. Meanwhile, more than one-quarter of students are completing programs that are completely web-based.

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