The popularity of online education programs has skyrocketed in recent years, thanks to the combination of quality and convenience the format provides. According to the eleventh annual report on the state of online learning in U.S. higher education, “Grade Change: Tracking Online Education in the United States,” at least 33 percent of students enrolled in higher education, or more than seven million people nationwide, have taken at least one online course as of 2013.
“While the industry has experienced a slight decrease in the rapid growth of past years, it’s still averaging a robust six percent growth rate overall,” said Willie Broussard, Dean of Lindenwood University’s Center for Distance Learning. “Colleges and universities are increasingly recognizing the need to reach students who, for various reasons, such as living in remote areas or dealing with overloaded schedules full of professional and personal commitments, have needs that are unmet by traditional education methods.”
Online Coursework Offers an Alternative for Students
Lindenwood launched its first fully online programs in 2010 to better serve students who seek more flexible alternatives to traveling to campus locations at designated times. Since then, the growth of the university’s online programs has outpaced the national average by a considerable margin.
During the 2013-2014 academic year, more than 14,000 credit hours were earned through Lindenwood online programs, a sum that totaled a more than 20 percent increase over the previous year. With Broussard at the helm, the university is on track to top that during the 2014-2015 academic year.
Since joining Lindenwood in May 2014, Broussard has been evaluating Lindenwood’s online course offerings and seeking to identify areas for expansion.
“We have a great foundation already in place and we are aligning ourselves with many of the best practices in online education,” he said. “I want to continue to build on that foundation, and to add programs that will translate into jobs for our graduates.”
New Programs and Professional Faculty Make Lindenwood Online Stand Out
One specific area Broussard is exploring is teaching certification programs. Completion typically takes less time than traditional programs, and those who wish to advance their careers by obtaining advanced certificates would be able to do so through online study while continuing to work.
Broussard is also committed to ensuring all courses continue to being led by highly qualified and professional faculty with real-world experience. Exceptional instructors will likely be added as course offerings continue to grow.
“We are focused on providing the same quality instructors, content, and learning strategies that benefit our traditional students, just through a different mode of delivery.”