A decade ago, most students were utilizing online courses to complete one or two courses that they needed to complete their degrees at colleges they were attending. But now a new study completed by the Babson Survey Research Group has found that college students are using online courses in new and different ways. The study explored the use of online courses at more than 4,700 colleges and universities.
You can read a summary of the study’s findings in “Study: More Students Are Enrolling in Online Courses,” an article that just appeared in U.S. News. But here are some of the major changes that the Babson study found . . .
- Overall use of online courses is increasing. More than 6.3 million U.S. students took at least one online course in 2016. That’s a 5.6% increase over the previous year.
- Students who are attending public institutions are the most likely to take online courses. The study found that about two-thirds of all students who take online courses are enrolled in public institutions.
- Students who live close to campus are the most likely to take courses online. In 2016, 56.1% of online students resided in the same states as the colleges they were attending. In fact, many online students live within 50 miles of the colleges they attend.
- Students who take online courses are also taking courses in classrooms. The Babson study found that almost 53% of students who are enrolled in online courses are also taking courses in classrooms.
- The number of students who take courses exclusively in classrooms is falling. Between 2012 and 2016, the number of students who were taking “live” courses exclusively dropped by more than 1 million. That’s a decline of 6.4%.
The Big Take-Away
If you counsel students who are completing their degrees, perhaps it is time to encourage them to make greater use of online courses. As the Babson study found, more students are finding ways to make online study part of the way they complete their degree work and graduate from college.
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