Wednesday, July 09, 2008

4 Dollar a Gallon Gas = More Online Courses

Gas Prices Drive Students to Online Courses
For Christy LaBadie, a sophomore at Northampton Community College, the 30-minute drive from her home to the Bethlehem, Pa., campus has become a financial hardship now that gasoline prices have soared to more than $4 a gallon. So this semester she decided to take an online course to save herself the trip­—and the money."I would prefer to actually go to school and be there to do it," says Ms. LaBadie, a single mother working toward a degree in medical administration. "But it's hard enough paying tuition, much less the price of gas."
Here's some data from the article:
The Tennessee Board of Regents, for instance, reports that summer enrollment in online courses is up 29 percent this summer over last year. At Brevard Community College, in Cocoa, Fla., summer enrollment in online courses is up nearly 25 percent. Harrisburg Area Community College, in Pennsylvania, saw its summer online enrollment rise 15 percent to 20 percent. At Northampton summer online enrollment is up 18 percent.
Not surprisingly, this trend is expected to "...lead more colleges to expand their offerings, or experiment with "blended" courses that mix in-person and online meetings."A great resource for students and faculty considering online courses is the Distance Learning Calculator from the SUNY Learning Network. By entering a few pieces of information into this simple web-based form:you can get a quick estimate of the cost of attending classes - and by extension, how much you would save by taking an online course. My quick example shows that I would save $1,100 a semester, just by staying home and teaching one of my courses online. When you consider that our part-time teaching rate is roughly $600 per credit or $1,800 for a typical 3-credit course, it's hard to imagine why anyone would teach part-time, when they're netting only $700. This cost is not trivial for students. With tuition at $108 dollar per credit or $1,620 for full time (up to 15 credits), it becomes increasingly important to provide students as many options for online learning as possible, and to ensure that they can fit more than one course into their daily schedule.Also worth a read is Elearning is Good for the Environment.Image from loiclemeur
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