Univ of Georgia Online Program Enrollment Up 32%

The University of Georgia has seen a sharp increase in the number of students enrolling in online classes in recent years. For this reason, it is trying to expand its online course offerings as quickly as it can without sacrificing quality.

Online classes give students the freedom to work on their classes on their own time without a set scheduled class. This is especially helpful for working adults and single parents who want a new career. UGA News Service reports:

“Online education enables students to make progress toward their degrees while pursuing internships, studying abroad or spending time at home with family over the summer,” said Pamela Whitten, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “It also expands the reach of our programs to make them available to people who want a UGA education but can’t relocate because of their careers or family obligations.”

The University of Georgia’s Office of Online Learning is celebrating its second anniversary and with it, the doubling of the number of students enrolled in its summer online classes. Vice President for Instruction Laura Jolly stated that 1,900 students enrolled in summer online classes in 2013. The  number of applicants for online classes increased by 32% to more than 2,500 this year, and still more students are yet anticipated to enroll, says the UGA News Service.

This increase has been attributed to the rapid growth to the Online Learning Fellows program. This program was started in 2013 to assist professors with learning how to design, develop and teach high-quality online classes. Online Learning Fellows gained funding to create a three-credit-hour course, and the class has procured 56 new summer online courses, according to the UGA News Service.

Summer courses are usually taken by more ambitious students while others are on vacation. Summer courses help students graduate faster. With summer classes, some students can graduate in three years instead of four.

The UGA is also working on implementing full online degree programs. In the autumn of 2014, UGA will raise the amount of online graduate programs it has by more than a third.

This will include the launch of seven new online degree programs. A Master’s of Internet technology degree via the Terry College of Business, a Master’s in food technology via the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and several more graduate programs via the College of Education, including Teaching of English as a Second Language will be some of the new masters degree programs that the university will offer. The college also displays 11 online graduate programs in subjects like as adult education, pharmaceutical and biomedical regulatory affairs, instructional technology, and reading education, according to ajc.com.

One major concern with online education is schools collecting data on students in online courses. Universities can see when a students logs in and what they do in the class, writes Scott Kirsner for The Boston Globe — and some believe this is a breach of privacy.