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Online classes are more popular than ever, and it's not surprising that students across the nation are drawn to the opportunity to be online to learn. Student can look to online colleges in Connecticut or across the U.S. to pursue training for a specific field or to participate in hybrid or fully-online programs.

Online Colleges in Connecticut

Online education has changed both the way students receive education and the way universities and colleges deliver it, with Connecticut very much part of the effort to make education truly location independent. The state, which has among the most highly-educated residents in the nation, made distance education available to its students early on, allowing it residents to reap the benefits of distance education and, more recently, the benefits of online degrees in Connecticut.

The innovative Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium (ctdlc.org), founded in 1998, is a state agency that supports online learning. It hosts and provides services to Connecticut's colleges and universities to make it easier for them to offer online courses and degree programs. Knowing that it takes well-trained teachers to deliver classes at online schools in Connecticut, the Consortium has provided services and support to help educators meet the demands of delivering effective technology-enhanced learning for students in higher education, adult education and high school settings. Established under the Board for State Academic Awards, the CTDLC is a division of Charter Oak State College (charteroak.edu), which will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year and has awarded more than 11,000 degrees.

Trends in Connecticut Online Schools

Middletown Adult Education (maect.org) is a cooperative adult education program that serves several Connecticut districts, providing academic programs, early childhood classes, family education, job training and many other services. Established decades before the internet changed the way we communicate and learn, Middletown was founded in 1945 and enrolls more than 2,500 students each year. Middletown Adult Education takes the democratization of education one step further, by making it possible for adults who don't own a computer to complete their online high school diplomas through the computer lab, which offers access to all of the school's students.

The University of Connecticut (digitalcollections.uconn.edu) makes it easy for students at online colleges in Connecticut to comply with their professors' research expectations, as the university's digital collection gives students and the general public access to its fully online digitized collection. Middlesex Community College's online portal (mxcc.commnet.edu) takes any tech-related challenges out of the online learning equation as their comprehensive website, which includes grades, payment information, class schedules and library databases, can be accessed from any on-campus or off-campus computer.

College Degrees in Connecticut

Connecticut may face a shortage of college graduates by 2025 unless students in the state earn an additional 161,000 degrees, according to data from the Lumina Foundation (luminafoundation.org). With only six brick-and-mortar public universities in the state, students may benefit from having online colleges in Connecticut to pursue postsecondary options. Students may want to prepare themselves for their future by looking to the state's important or growing fields, such as the information sector. As well, the Connecticut Department of Labor (ctdol.state.ct.us) indicates that nearly half of the state's leading careers should be in management, professional and technical occupations, making a college education more important than ever.

The Office of Research of the Connecticut Department of Labor (ctdol.state.ct.us) disseminates information about the labor market. One of its goals is to assist students in making career choices, making the website a goldmine of information for college students. According to December 2012 data, the sectors in the Connecticut economy that experienced growth include educational and health services, leisure and hospitality, and the information sector. As compiled by the "Connecticut Business & Employment Changes Announced in the Media" report by the same agency, the companies that added positions in the last quarter of 2012 include telecommunications providers, pharmaceutical corporations and TV networks. Online colleges in Connecticut may give students the credentials to help enter any of these or other fields, and Quinnipiac University (quinnipiac.edu) even offers an online master's degree in information technology.

Online Colleges in Connecticut

Through its Center for Continuing Studies, the state's flagship university, the University of Connecticut (uconn.edu), offers a selection of online options, including an occupational safety & health certificate and a web technology certificate. Charter Oak State College offers a variety of online certificate and degree programs, such as a project management certificate, and a bachelor's degree in health studies, organizational leadership or healthcare administration, among others.

Lincoln College of New England (lincolncollegene.edu) is a private college that offers both fully-online learning as well as blended learning choices. The blended classes combine classroom instruction with online learning through the school's online learning platform called eCollege. Students seeking fully online programs can opt for associate and bachelor's degrees in criminal justice and health management offered through the school.

Sources:
Charter Oak State College, Programs of Study
Connecticut Department of Labor, "Connecticut Business & Employment Changes Announced in the Media''
Connecticut Department of Labor, Forecast 2016, 2006
Connecticut Labor Market Information
Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018, 2010
Lincoln College of New England
Middlesex Community College, myCommNet
Quinnipiac University, Master of Science in Information Technology
University of Connecticut, Center for Continuing Studies
University of Connecticut, University Libraries Digital Collections

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