More community colleges are offering online programsAccording to the the Pew Research Center, community colleges enroll nearly 6 million students per year, which accounts for 44 percent of all U.S. undergraduates. These institutions offer a cost-effective way of earning an associates degree and transferring general education credits into a specialized four-year program.

Many community colleges are beginning to offer more online courses in an effort to accommodate the volume of students who are enrolling in degree programs. For instance, Jamestown Community College recently announced a new online course in its business program, reports The Post-Journal.

The new course, entrepreneurship finance, is designed to help business owners who seek to update their financial skills. Officials told the news source that the topics that will be covered include asset management, investments, tax planning and review statements.

Students will analyze accounting practices and tax issues that pertain to business ownership. Moreover, they will learn the purpose, design and use of numerous financial documents. Enrollees will prepare a business plan as part of their studies.

The online class will also address tax liability and consequences and daily operations. Students will get insider knowledge on capital budgeting techniques and debt versus equity financing.

Illinois-based school offers more degree programs

Other schools, such as McHenry County College (MCC), are unveiling several new online programs to add to their course offerings, the Chicago Tribune reports.

MCC officials told the news source that they will be offering online Fast Track programs in business management, construction and manufacturing. These curricula are designed for working professionals who want to upgrade their skills and earn a degree quickly.

“We are very excited about the upcoming programs MCC plans to launch,” said Tony Miksa, vice president of academic and student affairs. “We are really trying to provide degree and certificate programs that link to the job needs of our community, as well as anticipate up-and-coming areas of demand in the workforce.”

A recent school survey found that nearly 75 percent of Fast Track graduates have received one or more promotions since they enrolled in the program. Furthermore, 70 percent have obtained a certificate, while 58 percent have earned an associates degree.

Officials added that the school will offer other programs such as an occupational therapy assistant and culinary management degrees as well as a computer numerical control certificate. They added that they are currently planning to revitalizing the engineering program by providing a network security and robotics curriculum.

Online learning continues to drive higher education

Recently, the board of trustees of Illinois Eastern Community College (IECC) approved the school's 2011 Online Education Plan, the Carmi Times reports.

Officials told the news source that students enrolled in online courses has increased from 2,569 in 2005 to 4,916 in 2010. They noted that web-based learning is envisioned as an alternative method of delivery help the IECC successfully execute its overall mission.

IECC's plan is to continue to better accommodate the scheduling and transportation needs of the students within the area. As part of the goal of attracting more students from the area, partnering schools are offering more online classes. Additionally, enrollees are required to complete a web-based course that introduces them to the internet and hybrid courses.

The IECC, which was created in 2003, is designed to help monitor, assist and evaluate the school's online courses.

Currently, the partnering schools offer more than 130 online classes, which are taught by 70 full-time and part-time faculty members.

According to a 2009 report from the Sloan Consortium, approximately 4.6 million students were taking at least one web-based course during the fall 2008 semester. 

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