2011 Will Bring Exponential Growth of Online Classes in Michigan
Jacksonville, MI (CollegeToCareers.com) – It’s that time of the year when lines are drawn and totals are done. Looking back at the year that’s about to end this weekend, the state of Michigan can truly say that online classes have gathered quite a lot of steam and things are continuously moving in this direction. Based on this year’s figures, we can safely assume that, within the next decade, the online system will have a strong impact on every aspect of education.
Judging by how online courses have evolved since the widespread of broadband, we can pinpoint several trends to monitor starting 2011:
- In future, schools will have smaller buildings and campuses won’t resemble a small town like they do now. Since more and more students will enroll in online courses, there will be no need for a lot of physical room—students won’t be there all at once.
- Tuition fees will be lower. With a large share of students attending classes from their homes or offices, schools will have less overheads related to auxiliary personnel, rent and utilities. There will be less classrooms to heat during winter, less water consumed and fewer cleaning people. All schools—including for-profit ones—will be able to bill lower for their services while keeping the same profit margin they have now.
- More and more college students, especially those pursuing master’s or doctorate degrees, will complete the coursework without setting foot on campus. They will, therefore, be able to keep their day jobs and study in their spare time.
- More people from rural areas will join a form of higher education, even though they don’t have access to a brick and mortar college and can’t commute.
“Blended” classes are a way of soothing the transition from regular to online classes. Already implemented in several colleges across Michigan, these classes are a mix between the old and the new style of teaching. Students spend part of the time with the teacher and the rest of the time in front of a computer. The face to face meetings can be used as Q&A sessions or for practical applications or lab work. Grand Rapids Public Schools and Jackson Public Schools have already introduced blended classes as a pilot program and it seems that everybody is loving it.