There are big changes in store for college students and anyone else who’s looking for a way to continue their higher education. The rise of online education has both challenged the status quo and complemented more traditional educational routes, giving college students more options than ever before when it comes to choosing not only a school, but a degree program that suits them.
Even so, online degree programs have, by and large, existed in a separate world from traditional universities. Students have had to make a choice: enroll in a brick-and-mortar college, and commit to the campus lifestyle that comes with it, or take a very different route and pursue the more personalized experience that online colleges can offer.
A New Approach
More recently, however, there has been a great deal more overlap between these two worlds. While some of the nation’s top colleges may always prefer to offer courses in the physical world, they’re in a shrinking minority. Many more have seen the sea change of online classes and begun offering their own distance learning courses.
Some of these courses are meant to complement their on-campus offerings, leading to a hybrid approach for students seeking degrees: online courses suffice for most classes, but time in the classroom is still necessary for some of the more hands-on educational pursuits.
Ivy League Schools
The world of online education has been holding its collective breath for some time now, waiting to see if the world’s elite Ivy League universities would embrace online degrees, or stick to their on-campus curricula.
Dartmouth College was one of the nation’s very first elite colleges to begin offering online courses. Just a couple of years ago, Dartmouth combined professors from their Business School and their Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice to form a new type of master’s program.
That program, called Master of Healthcare Delivery Science, is 18 months long and, while it’s not exclusively taught online, it has proven to be a decisive step in the way that Ivy League schools are changing their approach to online learning.
An Example to Follow
In the years since Dartmouth first began its foray into distance learning, a number of other prestigious institutions have followed that example and begun offering online programs of their own. Make no mistake: these aren’t small or unknown schools; the list includes such colleges as Brown University, Columbia University, and Cornell University.
Brown University’s online offerings began as pre-college online courses, designed with college-bound students in mind. It’s meant as a way to prepare students for the future demands that college will make of them.
Columbia University, meanwhile, partnered with Carean University, a web-based school, to offer MBA degrees online.
Cornell took their first steps into the world of distance learning by offering individual classes and professional certificates through distance learning.
These are just a few examples, but the list goes on. Over the last few years, it’s been encouraging for students from all types of backgrounds, income levels, and areas of interest, to discover that they have more options than ever for pursuing higher learning. Clearly, big things are on the horizon for college students now that Ivy League schools have pledged their support.