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Online colleges in Indiana could offer you training helpful to entering a career. That might be true whether you are looking for classes that fall within the traditional academic framework -- business, education, etc. -- or more niche coursework that could offer you increased access to the desired subject matter.

Online Colleges in Indiana

Online colleges in Indiana are offering a variety of courses, allowing students the opportunity to take virtual classes in traditional areas such as business, education and healthcare. Students also have the opportunity to pursue  more unique, niche learning opportunities. The latter might increase your opportunities to improve skills in a favorite language, study gender issues in comic books, or gain knowledge that may be beneficial to becoming a nonprofit leader -- all through distance learning.

How does the state of digital learning stand in Indiana? The Digital Learning Council formed in 2010 to set a road map for incorporating digital learning into public education. The council noted that Indiana is leading the nation as far as the digital transformation in education. In 2012, the state's superintendent of public education, Tony Bennett, planned to ask the state legislature to make online education a required component for high school students to be able to receive a diploma.

Trends in Indiana Online Schools

Indiana incorporates virtual education at all grade levels, according to Oregon's Concordia University, which monitors e-learning opportunities within the U.S. As previously stated, the Indiana state superintendent of education wants students to take at least one online course to be able to graduate from high school. However, Indiana already has schools that offer all, part, or a few courses online to help students become familiar with technology before they even consider an online college in Indiana.

The Indiana Department of Education is offering school districts grants so that they may digitize textbook content, create more flexible class schedules, and develop customizable learning opportunities to help students master essential content and skills. The DOE even went so far as to describe 2013 as "The Year of the Digital Learner" on its grants website page. However, the state's DOE is not the only agency supporting advancement in online education.

In 2012, Indiana University announced an $8 million investment in education to develop and build out opportunities through the creation of IU Online. The investment would be distributed over three years, and would help the school to expand its current online offerings in subject areas like business, technology, social work, nursing, and public and environmental affairs. Outcomes hoped for, through the $8 million investment, include encouraging students to complete an undergraduate degree (not just start one), strengthening the Indiana workforce, and reaching out to greater numbers of students, according to the IU Newsroom.

College Degrees in Indiana

Online programs in Indiana could help prepare graduates to enter one of the fast-growing occupations in the state. In fact, Indiana's Department of Workforce Development projects that occupations requiring a minimum of a bachelor's degree that are predicted to be fast-growing include computer software engineers, medical service managers, cost estimators, marketing specialists and graphic designers.

Another way that online degrees in Indiana could be beneficial to the state is in helping produce the skilled workforce that is predicted to be needed in the future. As of 2010, The Lumina Foundation, a private organization focused on increasing the number of students with postsecondary training, noted that Indiana ranked 40th among all states with adults ages 25 to 64 having a minimum of a two-year degree. By 2025, the Lumina Foundation predicts that a skills gap of 19.2 percent could exist in the state, meaning that more than 600,000 new degrees could need to be obtained by that time to help meet projected needs for skilled workers.

Online College in Indiana

When it comes to pursuing a postsecondary program, students can choose from dozens of public and private online schools in Indiana offering degrees to local and global students. Through IU Online, the gateway for all of Indiana University's online education efforts, you could access almost 80 undergraduate, graduate and professional level degrees. Potential distance learning programs include a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing or a business administration degree.

Ball State University offers an online Master of Arts in Journalism, highlighting growing areas such as emerging media and narrative non-fiction. In the spring of 2013, Ball State University launched a massive open online course, or MOOC, on the gender issues prevalent in comic books. Approximately 4,300 people registered for the class, according to the Indianapolis Star. That wasn't the only class offered, however. Two other free MOOCs -- a survey of film noir and a pre-calculus algebra course -- were also offered online the same semester.

Sources:
Ball State University, Online and Distance Education, http://cms.bsu.edu/academics/collegesanddepartments/distance
Concordia University, Indiana: eLearning & Technology Education Outlook, http://education.cu-portland.edu/regional/elearning/indiana-elearning-technology-education-outlook/
"Event to Explore Online Language Learning," Inside Indiana Business with Gerry Dick, Feb. 25, 2013, http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=58133
Hoosier Hot 50 Jobs, 2008-2018, State of Indiana, 2008, https://netsolutions.dwd.in.gov/hh50/
Indiana University Online, http://iuonline.iu.edu/
The Lumina Foundation, Indiana, http://www.luminafoundation.org/state/indiana/
"The University of Notre Dame Announces New 100% Online Executive Certificate in Transformational Nonprofit Leadership," University of Notre Dame, Feb. 27, 2013, http://www.ereleases.com/pr/university-notre-dame-announces-100-online-executive-certificate-transformational-nonprofit-leadership-2-102181
"Thousands join Ball State's online comic book course, but who will finish?" Indianapolis Star, Feb. 27, 2013, http://www.indystar.com/article/20130227/NEWS04/302270038/
"Tony Bennett, Indiana Schools Superintendent, To Propose Online Course Requirement," Huffington Post, Sept. 13, 2011, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/13/tony-bennett-indiana-scho_n_960334.html

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