Many students favor online courses to fit their busy lifestyles, according to a recent survey of online students conducted by the Wisconsin technical colleges’ distance learning consortium, eTech College. Respondents of the 2007 Online Student Survey felt the biggest benefit of online learning is flexibility. Two-thirds of respondents specifically wanted to take an online course instead of traveling to campus for class, and 85 percent of online students would take another online course with a Wisconsin technical college.
Sara Doege of Neosho recently graduated from Moraine Park’s online Instructional Assistant program. “The program allowed me to attend class at times and places that fit my schedule,” said Doege. “The online format creates more opportunities for more direct communication with teachers and classmates, through online chats, email and in newsgroup discussions and enhances my learning experience by allowing me to work with peers from around the state and across the nation. The Instructional Assistant program course material is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, giving me the ability to read and re-read lectures, discussions, explanations and comments.”
With more than 35,000 students taking 173,000 credits of online learning through Wisconsin’s Technical Colleges last year, online learning has grown to more than eight percent of all credit hours taken. That shift is expected to continue, according to eTech College of Wisconsin Online Learning Specialist Nancy Woodward.
Moraine Park sees a similar trend, according to President Gayle Hytrek. “Since introducing our first online program in 2000 we've seen our numbers continue to grow steadily each year,” she said. “The demand for classes is there and we are continuing to build our online offerings in response to that demand.” In 2006-07 Moraine Park served nearly 4,600 online students accounting for just over 11 percent of the College’s full-time equivalents. The College served nearly 5,000 online students in 2007-08, with 75 percent of them female. The average age of online students was 34 with the youngest being 18 and the oldest being 86.
“Online learning courses are an important and growing component of our technical college programs,” said
Dan Clancy, president of the Wisconsin Technical College System. “Our colleges will continue to work collaboratively
to ensure online learning options are delivered cost-effectively for students across the state.”
For more information about Moraine Park online courses, visit www.morainepark.edu or call 1-800-472-4554.