Online Colleges in New Jersey
2013's Revolutionary Online Programs in New Jersey
In 2012, Princeton University decided to enter the world of massive open online courses (MOOCs) by joining forces with Coursera. The initiative provides people from around the world with access to nearly 500 different courses taught by professors at 85 of the country's top universities. Partners include such prestigious schools as Yale, Johns Hopkins, Duke, and of course Princeton. Currently in 2013, nearly 4.5 million people have registered to take theses MOOCs via Coursera. Princeton University continues to be an important partner in this new initiative, making some of its Ivy League classes accessible to learners worldwide for free.
During the summer and fall of 2013, Princeton University was offering 10 MOOCs via Coursera to the public. Courses in algorithms, statistics, and analytic combinatorics are available for advanced mathematics lovers. Princeton professor Mung Chiang is also teaching two courses studying networks: "Networks: Friends, Money, and Bytes" and "Networks Illustrated: Principles Without Calculus." The first course will be driven by 20 different questions regarding wireless, web, and the internet, and about how technology-based products work. The second will immerse the student in "Network Theory," will use relatively simple mathematics, animations, anecdotes and analogies to examine how companies like Google and technologies like the internet actually work.
In addition, Princeton University will be offering both a world history course, as well as an introductory sociology course through Coursera. "A History of the World Since 1300" is a 12-week course that will explore the connections shared between societies from the time of the Mongol conquests onward. The course examines how those connections have gradually become connections of interdependence giving way to the globalization that we experience now. The "Introduction to Sociology" course aims to provide students with a better understanding of their own lives, as well as the lives of others who come from exceptionally different circumstances. It will provide students with a basic understanding of sociological principles as well as how our micro-interactions affect larger social processes and vice versa.
Berkeley College Online is celebrating 15 years of existence in 2013. Furthermore, the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) has certified Berkley College Online for excellence, anointing the initiative with its USDLA Quality Standards designation. Berkeley is one of the first college or university online programs to receive this honor, and is the only school in the state of New Jersey to receive the USDLA/QS designation. To achieve the designation, schools are evaluated in 124 different areas including administration, student affairs, teaching and learning infrastructure, among others. Berkley College Online currently offers full bachelor's and associate degree programs in over 20 fields. Some degrees from the departments of business, health studies, and professional studies can be completed entirely online.
Approximately 1,900 students recently graduated from Berkley College. This number includes students from both the traditional campus as well as Berkley College Online. Of the roughly 7,700 students enrolled at Berkeley, approximately 800 are international students. In addition to serving students in New Jersey and across the United States, Berkley College Online is geared toward meeting the needs of these international students.
Employment Opportunities in New Jersey
New Jersey earned an "A" grade for student support and success in the 2012 "Leaders & Laggards" report issued by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Their report found that the state's colleges and universities had excellent retention rates, graduation rates and credentials among full-time undergraduates. In addition, New Jersey ranks sixth in the nation for higher education attainment, with 45 percent of all adults aged 25-64 holding a two-year degree or higher, according to a 2012 report from the Lumina Foundation -- similar to New York, which sits ninth at 44.1 percent, and above the national average of 38 percent.
These accolades and numbers will need to stay strong if the state hopes to meet future economic demands, as the Lumina Foundation estimates that 64 percent of all jobs in New Jersey will require a college credential by 2018. This likely includes jobs in two of New Jersey's key industry clusters, financial services and bio/pharmaceuticals and life sciences (lwd.state.nj.us, 2012). According to 2011 data from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, over three fifths of workers in bio/pharmaceuticals and life sciences hold at least a bachelor's degree, while many careers in the financial services sector also require a college credential.
Online schools in New Jersey may help more residents earn a degree and enter high-skill professions. Many state institutions have already taken the initiative in supporting online learning. In February 2013, Rutgers University announced that it would begin offering massive open online courses through Coursera (nj.com) to complement its standard library of online programs. Other schools also offering online options include Montclair State University and Thomas Edison State College.
Advantages of Online Education for Students in New Jersey
Online learning may be a great alternative for those who don't have the time or ability to attend traditional courses at brick-and-mortar schools. Thanks to online education, working professionals can possibly earn a higher degree without sacrificing their work or family commitments. Busy parents may also find the flexible nature of online learning to be very helpful, allowing them to complete class work while their kids are asleep or otherwise occupied. Additionally, students who live far from a college campus, as well as those with learning challenges or mobility issues, might be able to complete their degree more easily when the classroom comes to them via their computer.
Many online programs also offer proficiency in various online applications, as students are often required to use chat programs, message boards and various Internet programs to communicate with peers and teachers. These skills might help bolster a resume, especially when applying at a company with a strong global presence. In addition to emphasizing telecommunication skills, online degree programs may give students the opportunity to work with instructors and classmates from around the globe.
Trends in Online Education: Public and Private Online Schools in New Jersey
New Jersey is home to 13 public four-year universities and 19 public two-year institutions of higher learning, according to "Leaders & Laggards." Many of these colleges now offer online options for students who want to pursue their degree from a distance.
For example, Rutgers University, one of the largest institutions in the state, offers both online courses and full degree programs in nursing, education, business and the arts. Montclair State University features master's degrees in child advocacy and policy, and educational leadership, as well as several individual courses for credit. Thomas Edison State College has also embraced online learning with dozens of program offerings, including an associate degree in business administration, bachelor's degree in psychology and master's degree in liberal studies.
Along with these schools, many national online universities offer degree programs to students in New Jersey. Some, such as University of Phoenix and ITT Technical Institute, even have campus locations in the state which may allow students to supplement online coursework with hands-on training sessions. Other national colleges serving New Jersey students include Berkeley College and DeVry University.
There are several resources available to those in New Jersey seeking additional information about online programs. The New Jersey Virtual Community College Consortium outlines online courses and programs at two-year colleges throughout the state, while the New Jersey Department of Education provides a searchable library of over 100 online degree programs from 22 institutions (as of February 2013).
Entry Requirements and Application Process for New Jersey Online Colleges
As with traditional degree programs, the application process varies from school to school. Prospective students should contact an admissions counselor for details on a specific online program and its entry requirements. To take the next step, request information from one of the colleges listed below.
New Jersey, 2012 Leaders & Laggards Report, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, http://education.uschamber.com/reportcard/new-jersey/
New Jersey, Lumina Foundation, http://www.luminafoundation.org/state/New_Jersey/
Montclair State University, http://www.montclair.edu/online/
New Jersey Key Industry Cluster Fact Sheet, Department of Labor and Workforce Development, http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/lpa/pub/lmv/cluster%20handout.pdf
New Jersey Virtual Community College Consortium, http://www.njvccc.cc.nj.us/index.cfm
"Rutgers to offer free, online non-credit courses available to thousands," NJ.com, Jeff Goldman, Feb. 21, 2013, http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2013/02/rutgers_to_offer_free_online_n.html
Rutgers University, https://onlinelearning.rutgers.edu/
State of New Jersey Higher Education, http://www.nj.gov/highereducation/NJProgramsOnline.htm
Thomas Edison State College, http://www.tesc.edu/academics/online-degrees.cfm