Online Colleges in North Carolina
2013's Revolutionary Online Degree Programs in North Carolina
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are having an effect on how traditional students will be learning at Duke University. Although MOOCs have not replaced the on-campus experience, they are beginning to change the way in which course content is delivered to traditional students. Currently, Duke University is partnered with Coursera, one of the most widely used online MOOC platforms in the nation. In the Fall of 2012, Professor Walter Sinnott-Armstrong co-taught one of the most popular courses ever to be hosted by Coursera, "Think Again: How to Reason and Argue." The course touched approximately 170,000 students, out of which about 100,000 viewed the online lectures a total of more than 4 million times.
Instead of making changes to his MOOC course, Sinnott-Armstrong is making changes to the on-campus course he teaches covering the same subject matter. Beginning this fall, he plans to have traditional students view the MOOC lectures online, providing the opportunity for their time in the classroom to be more oriented toward activities and teamwork. The MOOC will be available again on Coursera beginning August 26.
Duke University is offering a number of interesting MOOCs via Coursera in 2013. Free courses will be available in topics such as neuroscience, human physiology, sports and society, and healthcare innovation. In addition, Duke is offering a course entitled "A Beginners Guide to Irrational Behavior." The course discusses the ways in which people behave irrationally and seeks ways to overcome these issues. The course is based on the professor's own research, using the theories of behavioral economics and behavioral finance as a guide to understanding irrational behavior. It will delve into why emotion often governs the behavior of humans, rather than rational thought. Quizzes will be given on lectures and reading assignments, and there will also be a writing assignment given.
North Carolina State University
The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University, in cooperation with the Alliance for Excellent Education, recently offered a MOOC for school district leaders to develop digital learning strategies and goals to better meet the needs of their students. The course entitled "Digital Learning Transition" was free to the educators as part of the Alliance's "Project 24" initiative.
The initiative itself calls for urgent action and systemic planning regarding the use of digital learning and technology in order to increase all students readiness for college and the job market. Superintendents, principals, and teachers enrolled in the seven session MOOC. Topics covered included discussion about how to create a successful transition to digital learning, creating goals for the digital learning experience, and planning for the desired outcomes for students.
Employment Opportunities in North Carolina
Like many states in the U.S., North Carolina is experiencing a shortage of college graduates. According to the Lumina Foundation, only about 38 percent of North Carolinians between the ages of 25 and 64 had a college degree in 2010 -- just under the national average. And while this number is expected to increase to around 42 percent by 2018, it still won't be enough to fill the 59 percent of jobs that are expected to require a college credential that year. If North Carolina hopes to provide enough qualified workers to meet this demand, it must find a way to increase college attainment numbers.
One way North Carolina could begin to achieve this is by supporting online education programs in the state. The increased accessibility and flexibility of online colleges may help higher education become a reality for those who could not otherwise pursue it. Many traditional institutions within the state have already begun to offer online learning options. In fact, sixteen colleges in the University of North Carolina system, including UNC Chapel Hill, UNC Charlotte, East Carolina University and Appalachian State University, now feature online degrees. From vocational certificates to graduate programs, online schools in North Carolina provide a wide range of educational opportunities for college-bound students.
Advantages of Online Education for Students in North Carolina
Online schools in North Carolina offer students a level of flexibility and accessibility that many brick-and-mortar institutions cannot match. For instance, most online programs allow students to study at their own pace and attend class when it's convenient, rather than at a set time. This flexibility could be especially helpful to working professionals who want to advance their educations without leaving their jobs, as well as those with family obligations.
Students can also attend class from anywhere with an Internet connection, which means they may be able to pursue degrees or other professional credentials even if there are no traditional colleges in their area. Online schools also allow students to choose from a broader range of degrees, even if local colleges don't offer the desired major or program.
Finally, pursuing a degree online may give students additional computer skills. Because online learning often requires students to communicate remotely via online message boards, video conferencing, and email, they may come away with a better understanding of online communication. This could be a boon in the workplace, as these technologies are playing an increasingly important role in many employers' day-to-day operations.
Trends in Online Education: Public and Private Online Schools in North Carolina
Many public and private-sector schools in North Carolina now offer online classes and degree programs. Perhaps the state's largest and best-known educational institution to do so is the UNC university system. As of February 2013, its cohort of 16 universities offered more than 300 online programs, with nearly 70,000 students enrolled in online courses. One of its more unique online offerings is the Bachelor of Science in Neurodiagnostics and Sleep Science completion program, a joint effort by UNC Charlotte and UNC Chapel Hill. Other available online programs include a Master of Arts in Gerontology from Appalachian State University and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from East Carolina University, to name a few.
Fortunately, prospective students who want to learn more about online degrees in North Carolina have a wealth of resources at their disposal. The North Carolina eLearning Commission, for instance, is a state-sponsored foundation designed to inform North Carolinians of online learning opportunities at UNC schools, as well as other institutions within the state. Visitors can learn more about the benefits of online learning, and research public and private institutions that offer online degrees or professional credentials.
Another helpful tool for prospective students is the state's Virtual Learning Community (VLC), which is operated by North Carolina's community college system. On the site, visitors can learn more about the different types of online learning programs available from the 58 (as of February 2013) participating community colleges.
Many national online colleges also offer full degree programs to students in North Carolina. Some, such as University of Phoenix and ITT Technical Institute, even have multiple campus locations throughout the state. At these sites, students may be able to supplement their online education with hands-on classroom or lab sessions.
Entry Requirements and Application Process for North Carolina Online Colleges
Individuals who want to learn more about a specific online school in North Carolina, or who would like to begin the application process, should contact an admissions counselor. These professionals are available to discuss programs in detail, including any application or admissions requirements that may apply. Many national colleges even offer students the option to chat with advisors directly online. To learn more about online degrees in North Carolina, request information from any of the schools listed below.
Appalachian State University
East Carolina University
North Carolina eLearning Commission
North Carolina Virtual Learning Community
The University of North Carolina Online