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Online colleges in New Hampshire can provide distance learning options for those seeking skills training and academic degrees or advanced instruction. Working professionals can look to online colleges in New Hampshire to build their professional development skills or to pursue graduate level degrees.

Online Colleges in New Hampshire

Advances in online education have transformed higher education opportunities in the U.S., with more students than ever before participating in distance learning. A 2012 survey from the Sloan Consortium (sloanconsortium.org) shows the widespread growth of online learning in the U.S., noting that the percentage of higher education students who took at least one online course grew from 11.7 percent in 2003 to 32 percent in 2012. As part of the transition toward distance learning, educators at online colleges in New Hampshire have made efforts to provide more online choices to students to aid them in their academic endeavors and help them advance toward their goals.

As part of the state's distance learning offerings, New Hampshire provides an online virtual public middle school and high school known as the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (vlacs.org). Courses through the school are available statewide and are offered free-of-charge through the state's public school system. Ongoing virtual open houses occur twice a month, helping those interested in the program understand how it works. Additionally, high school juniors and seniors in New Hampshire can take part in the eStart (ccsnh.edu/estart) program, which is offered through the Community College System of New Hampshire (ccsnh.edu) and the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School, and that offers students dual high school and college credit for classes completed online.

Trends in Online Schools in New Hampshire

New Hampshire is making advancements in online education by taking more steps to extend the quality and availability of online learning in the state. Connect NH (gsdln.org), a statewide consortium of organizations committed to developing distance education and outreach throughout the state, provides information about distance learning sites. Sites are broken down by county, and include locations ranging from public school districts to community colleges to government agencies. Virtual meetings and video networking events are also available.

Open NH is a web-based professional network that offers online courses to the state's educators to help them advance in their professional development. Courses, available in in four seven-week sessions throughout the year, fall within various content and instructional areas, and engage students with digital portfolios, literacy coaching, and project-based approaches to learning and vocabulary instruction. Open NH operates under the E-Learning for Educators initiative, which is funded through the federal Ready to Teach program.

College Degrees in New Hampshire

The Lumina Foundation (luminafoundation.org), founded in 2000, published a report showing that 37.4 percent of the adult population in New Hampshire in 2010 held at least an associate's degree, which ranks 28th among U.S. states. Online colleges in New Hampshire could help improve the state's ranking, but could also help increase the number of workers in the state who will have the needed college training and advanced job skills to enter the workforce in the future. The Lumina Foundation projects that by 2025, 59 percent of jobs in the state will require workers who have some level of college education. Online degrees in New Hampshire could be beneficial in progressing toward that number.

CareerOneStop, a website sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, shows that some of the fastest-growing occupations in the state include those for accountants and auditors, financial examiners, health educators and public relation specialists. All of these positions require at least a four-year degree, but have a projected job growth of 20 percent or above from 2008 to 2018. Students wanting to enter any of these fields could look to online colleges in New Hampshire for degree programs that can help them attain skills to help them on the job.

Online College in New Hampshire

Each of New Hampshire's seven community colleges offers online classwork and courses, which all use an online student interface program called Blackboard. These courses were created to accommodate different learning styles, and allow students to work independently while adhering to course guidelines and assignment deadlines, accoding to the Community College System of New Hampshire (ccsnh.edu) website. CCSNH also provides resources for online students through its Distance Learning Support Center.

Southern New Hampshire University (snhu.edu), a private, four-year college, offers more than 180 undergraduate and graduate programs online in content areas as varied as accounting, business, creative writing and game design. Certificates also fall within area such as cybersecurity, human resources management, marketing and social media. Some of these certificates are also available at the graduate level. The school also provides an online library and around-the-clock assistance for students who need help with technical matters related to accessing online instruction.

Sources:
CareerOneStop, Fastest-Growing Occupations
Community College System of New Hampshire
Connect NH
eStart
Lumina Foundation
OPEN HN
Sloan Consortium
Southern New Hampshire University
Virtual Learning Academy Charter School

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