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Online Learning: What You Need to Know

by Joe Aguilar

Learning Online
Online courses are growing in popularity. In fact, according to a recent study by the Sloan Consortium, almost 3.2 million students took at least one online course during the fall 2005 school term. So what are online classes and why are so many people taking them?

Types of Online Classes
Different learning styles may be accommodated by different kinds of online courses, such as:

  • Web-facilitated classes: although these courses mostly take place in a traditional classroom environment, parts may be web-facilitated--for example, assignments and syllabuses might be available online.
  • Hybrid courses: these classes usually blend face-to-face meetings with online discussions and Internet-based coursework.
  • Online classes: the majority of work takes place online, often through a combination of discussion boards, written lectures, chat rooms, and even web-based video technology.

Many types of traditional degrees may be earned online, including associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees--and now, there are even online elementary school and online high school options for kids as well.

 

More about Online Learning:


- Navigating the Obstacles of Online Learning
- Benefits of Online Learning
- Are distance-learning courses for Me?

Sources:
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Education Pays"
Sloan Consortium, "Making the Grade: Online Education in the United States, 2006" (PDF)


About the Author

Joe Aguilar is a freelance writer in Boulder, Colorado. He has an MFA in creative writing from Oregon State University.

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