These days, it seems like just about everything is online. Your shopping, your social life, your self-expression – it all happens on the web. And your education? Well, that can, too.
No, we’re not speaking here about for-profit universities like The University of Phoenix and the notorious Trump University. We’re talking about real, accredited, not-for-profit institutions, including state universities and Ivy League colleges. Traditional universities are increasingly making their courses and even their degrees available to students online.
Take courses online
Universities are incredibly important institutions, and a big chunk of what they do is aspirational and altruistic. Universities fund research and grant degrees, and while they love to see the earning power of their students rise (and for those students to turn around and gift money to the university), they’re also interested in a more general and more charitable mission of educating as many people as possible. To that end, many universities have tried to bring their courses to a broader audience. People who listen to university lectures on tape or watch them on DVD may not be getting course credit, but they are learning!
The internet offers a powerful new way to do this, which is why institutions like Harvard and other top universities are increasingly making courses available online. The best part? These courses are often completely free.
Getting degrees online
Of course, while learning is great, higher education isn’t just a hobby for most of us. Many of us seek out education because we want to boost our earning power and make ourselves more attractive to potential employers. For that, we need a degree that proves we’ve done the work and learned the curriculum.
And, like courses, degrees are available online. We’re not just talking about undergraduate degrees here, either – you can get a masters in public health at UMass, for instance. Increasingly specific types of degrees are available in low-residency and even fully online forms, making it easier than ever for busy people and even full-time employees to fit a graduate degree into their schedule, as the University of South Dakota even offers a fast-track RN to BSN degree online.
It wasn’t so long ago that the internet was a place that seemed untrustworthy. We went out of our way to avoid shopping online, we never shared personal information with others online, and we didn’t trust the for-profit universities that were the internet’s most notable resources for education. These days, the internet has become a part of our daily life – and we can trust certain sites with our payment information, our personal connections, and even our education. The arrival of familiar and trusted names in education has made online higher education a great option for many of us.