Online Schools in Ohio
Online learning has revolutionized the way students can pursue higher education. According to the Sloan Consortium, 60 percent of private U.S. colleges and universities have incorporated long-term online education strategies.
Online education has found a home in Ohio. According to eStudent Services, a division of the Ohio Technology Consortium (OH-TECH), more than 115,000 students enrolled in the state's public-higher-education, distance-learning courses in fall 2010. OH-TECH, which is a division of the Ohio Board of Regents, is a statewide program designed to improve access to online, "technology-enhanced" higher education.
As online education continues to expand among the nation's institutions of higher learning, organizations like OH-TECH are working to improve distance-learning technologies and identify new ways to serve students online in Ohio. For example, OH-TECH's Ohio Super Computer Center is an online research library that provides materials in a number of disciplines, including business, engineering and computer science. The center offers workshops, one-on-one classes and web-based training for students and faculty looking to fine-tune their research skills.
Trends in Ohio Online Schools
As more students turn to online education, they want to be assured that online programs are as high-quality as traditional ones. To that end, the state began using a voluntary auditing program in 2007 designed by the Center for Transforming Student Services to examine and improve the quality of its online offerings. During the process, auditors, comprising staff and faculty of participating schools, analyze Ohio online schools in 31 different student-service areas. Schools can then use this data to identify problem areas and develop strategies for improvement, allowing them to boost the effectiveness of their online programs and technology, and, ultimately, student success.
The e-Student Services division gives prospective and current students access to several online services, including OhioLearns and eTutoring. The OhioLearns program keeps an inventory of online courses, degrees and certificates from 2- and 4-year colleges in Ohio - both private and public - for easy browsing. It also provides tools to help students pinpoint career paths, make the transition from traditional to virtual classrooms, and begin the admissions and financial aid processes. Meanwhile, the Ohio eTutoring Collaborative provides students statewide with online tutoring services. The program's goal: to enlist all 107 of Ohio's institutions of higher education, thereby extending its online tutoring services to more than 600,000 students.
College Degrees in Ohio
For Ohio residents, education attainment and economic prosperity can go hand-in-hand. According to University System of Ohio Chancellor Jim Petro on OhioHigherEd.org, for every one percent increase in Ohio's baccalaureate-level graduates, the state should see a projected $2.5 billion in economic growth each year. Meanwhile, another report by the Lumina Foundation suggests that Ohio's higher education attainment must also increase just to keep up with growing employer demand. According to the report - which cites information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census' 2010 American Community Survey - 35.79 percent of Ohio adults had college degrees in 2010, placing it 35th among all states in terms of college attainment. If the current attainment rate holds, Lumina projects that 44 percent of Ohio residents should have college degrees in 2025, which is still 16 percent shy of the 60 percent of jobs that are expected to require college-level education.
One way to help increase education attainment and meet job demand in Ohio could be through improving college accessibility in online education. While groups like the University System of Ohio work to expand educational opportunity across the state, OH-TECH strives to accomplish the same in online education. There are also a number of private institutions offering online education opportunities as well.
Online College in Ohio
Many colleges in Ohio are embracing the growth of distance learning. Ohio University's eCampus is one such program. According to the university's official website, eCampus allows students to take courses offered at other Ohio University campuses that would otherwise be unavailable to them. Another school offering online education is Kent State University, which offers online degrees and certificates as well as a special distance learning program designed specifically for U.S. military veterans.
The Ohio State University, OSU, is another university that offers students the option to take classes online. OSU's online program is managed by the Office of Extended Education, a department that specifically focuses on providing services to students who are interested in additional learning but not in completing a degree. This can include students taking prerequisites for degrees to be completed at other schools, lifelong learners seeking personal enrichment, and working professionals who want to maintain or expand their knowledge base.
In addition to traditional, campus-based schools, a wealth of primarily online institutions offer online education opportunities to Ohio students. From nationally recognized schools, like DeVry and University of Phoenix, who offer a wealth of degree options, to more focused offering from specialized schools, like Colorado Technical University and Ultimate Medical Academy, there are a lot of options for today's students. In other words, Ohio students have any number of options when it comes to where they choose to attend college and why.
Center for Transforming Student Services, http://www.centss.org/index.html
Chancellor's Blog, University System of Ohio, https://www.ohiohighered.org/board-of-regents/chancellor/blog
Lumina Foundation Ohio, 2010, http://www.luminafoundation.org/state/ohio/
OhioHigherEd, University System of Ohio, https://www.ohiohighered.org/
OhioLearns, eStudent Services, https://www.estudentservices.org/ohiolearns
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/
U.S. Census, http://www.census.gov/