Q&A: Who Can Attend Online School?

Answer: There are actually a wide variety of classes and programs available online. Schools, colleges and universities have spent many years researching and developing courses for online or distant learners. The goal is to increase educational opportunities regardless of the students' location or life situation.

In regards to what's available, let's first address programs and degrees. Currently, students from kindergarten through Ph.D. level can attend online school. Children in elementary and middle school can attend online school from home. Adolescents in high school can attend online, as well. As a matter of fact, many high school districts offer online classes in conjunction with standard, face-to-face classes. This is a great opportunity for high school students who are behind in credits and/or would like to get ahead. Some high school students choose to, or need to, work to earn money--so, being able to take classes online allows for more hours in the day for working. This is also a great opportunity for young parents who desire to complete their high school diploma.

A large majority of private and public community colleges and universities offer online courses. Students usually have the choice of taking courses in the classroom along with online courses (as we discussed with high schools) or being strictly an online learner. Online learners take all of their classes online and do not have to physically go onto a campus if they choose not to. Often, for online learners, the first time they do go onto their campus is for graduation.

Online programs are offered in the same degree-levels that traditional programs are. Students can enroll and work to complete the following degrees: associate; bachelor's of science, or BS; bachelor's of arts, or BA; a master's; or doctorate degree, or Ph.D. The higher the degree or education the more course work, just as if you were taking courses in a classroom.

Many individuals also take courses of interest as a hobby; this could include business, computer or foreign language classwork. Others take courses to help them along in their current career field, such as accounting or psychology. One of the awesome aspects of online learning is the flexibility and opportunities it affords. It's up to the learner on how far they go.

Dr. Beverley BrowningDr. Beverly A. Browning (Dr. Bev) has been a higher education adjunct faculty member for over 25 years. She has taught in the classroom and online for multiple colleges and universities including Spring Arbor College, Baker College of Flint, Mott Community College, and Rio Salado College. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Spring Arbor College and Mott Community College. She is currently an online instructor for ed2go.com (Cengage Learning). In addition to founding and directing the Grant Writing Training Foundation, Dr. Bev is also Vice President of Grants Professional Services for eCivis, Inc. She is the author over over 37 grant-related publications and a frequent keynote speaker and workshop presenter for national and regional conferences. Dr. Bev is a product of lifelong learning and an advocate for online teaching and learning!