This is a guest post by Christina St-Jean is an English teacher who has been engaged in virtually every level of the educational system at one point or another. When she’s not teaching, she is contributing to online education resources such as DegreeJungle.com. When she isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her two young daughters, who surprise her daily with what they’ve learned.
Online education is an increasingly popular method for people to improve upon their existing skills or earn diplomas and degrees. There are many who can’t afford the high tuition costs associated with returning to school and potentially residing on campus; with the cost of raising a family, housing and food alone, the cost of attending a physical campus is getting to be too extreme for a good portion of society. In addition, the National Center for Education Statistics (2008) has noted that the numbers of public school students alone engaging in online course studies grew by 65 percent between 2002 and 2005. This number continues to grow as there are a multitude of educational options in online education; this is, of course, a viable option for those who live in isolated communities and may not be able to access the educational opportunities available to students in larger centers. There are, of course, other educational options and while some may not provide you with certification, they can give you an idea of what career options you could explore.
Coursera is a company that has partnered with various top universities to offer online courses for free. The move is unprecedented, given education has become a huge business in recent years. However, Coursera offers a wide range of university courses for people to expand their knowledge base, with subjects spanning Humanities, Sciences and Information Technology. The fact that the course offerings are free doesn’t hurt its appeal, either; the subjects offered continue to grow, and Coursera’s audience continues to expand. While Coursera is very convenient for people looking to simply expand their knowledge base, it should be noted that you won’t necessarily score credits towards a certificate or diploma, so sign on with that caveat if you’re interested.
This is a for-profit American university and as such, you can expect to pay similar tuition fees, but there will be the payoff of a diploma or degree in the end. Offering courses ranging from Business Studies to Technology, the University of Phoenix has over 35 years in the educational game, with at least 20 of those being offered in an online stream. There are over 200 locations worldwide to choose from, and the main campus is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, so students who might be living in isolated locations can access educational opportunities and the social scene as well, as the university also boasts a campus-wide social network.
Online education is a growing way to demonstrate to employers that you’re serious about continuous learning; this is a quality that many employers are looking for in their employees as they determine who’s worthy of raises or promotions. In addition, successful pursuit of online educational options are a tremendous way to boost confidence and obtain credentials – or, at the very least, show your friends how much you’ve learned in the comfort of your own home. You simply have to be discerning about the organization you choose to study with.