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Whether it's a certificate or an undergraduate or advanced degree, online colleges in Wisconsin are offering a number of options to students who are dedicated to pursuing their postsecondary goals. These distance learning options avail themselves to a variety of needs and can provide the boost to obtaining that college-level training.

Online Colleges in Wisconsin

Wisconsin has been known for developing an extensive and effective state higher education system that now features 26 campuses statewide. Many of the state's academic leaders have pushed for the inclusion of online learning as part of this system, which has led to the availability of distance learning options ranging from certificates to degrees. At many levels of education, efforts are being made to improve accessibility to online learning and engage leaders in cutting-edge discussions about how web-based alternatives are transforming education in the state and nationwide.

At the K-12 level, state officials recently joined forces with the EducationSuperHighway project to help test the strength of school districts' bandwidth speeds. More than 70,000 test runs were done in Wisconsin over the course of six weeks, helping lead to some interesting conclusions. The website EdSurge (edsurge.com) notes that many of the school districts most in need of aid were mid-sized and, often, suffered from a lack of management expertise in networking systems.

Putting a continual focus on the delivery, access, best practices and new developments in online learning is the University of Wisconsin, Madison, which hosts its Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning (uwex.edu). The conference includes a range of expert speakers and presenters, as well as information and resources available to those interested in online learning in K-12 or higher education, and touches on issues related to business, industry, government and non-profits.

Trends in Wisconsin Online Schools

To help encourage students to pursue a postsecondary education in Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin Colleges Online (online.uwc.edu) was formed. The online program gives students the opportunity to pursue an Associate of Arts and Science degree, which can easily be transferred to other schools within the University of Wisconsin Higher Education system. Online classes follow the academic schedule of the Wisconsin Higher Education system, meaning students enroll for classes that are approximately 15 weeks in length, just like in the traditional on-campus programs. Students can also enroll for courses at UW Colleges Online to complete classwork for other degrees, or pursue a particular subject of interest to them.

To help teachers in the state instruct students through online learning, the University of Wisconsin, Madison (dept.wisc.edu) offers two professional development certificates that can be completed through its distance education program. These online programs include the professional certificate in online learning, which helps teachers to improve their online teaching strategies and practices, and the basic online teaching professional certificate, which allows teachers to survey various online course models while developing their own course. A variety of courses in teaching and instructing online are also available through distance learning, including Exploring the World of Wikis, Learning at a Distance, and Project Management in Distance Education.

College Degrees in Wisconsin

Nearly 40 percent of adults in Wisconsin hold a two-year degree, but by 2025 those numbers may need to be much higher to keep up with the state need for educated workers, according to the Lumina Foundation. By that year, 61 percent of jobs are expected to require some level of postsecondary training, but only 47 percent of adults in Wisconsin are expected to have the necessary training.

Wisconsin is projected to drop to 47th (from 22nd) in the nation among states having the most adults with at least a two-year degree. Some counties in the state fall particularly low in that postsecondary training, including Adams, Menomonie, Richland and Taylor counties, which each have less than 25 percent of adults holding at least a two-year degree. Online colleges in Wisconsin could benefit by providing students in these areas and others with access to postsecondary training.

Growing occupations in Wisconsin that require a two-year degree in the state include construction manager, paralegal, legal assistant and social science research assistant, according to CareerOneStop. Growing occupations in Wisconsin requiring a minimum of a four-year degree include biomedical engineer, interpreter, translator, and market research analyst and marketing specialist. Online colleges in Wisconsin could help students develop skills that can help them compete for these kind of jobs.

Online College in Wisconsin

Various campuses of the University of Wisconsin provide different opportunities. For example, the UW-Platteville (uwplatt.edu) campus, founded in 1866, offers online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degrees. Even more opportunities are available for those seeking an advanced education. Students can opt for an online Master of Science in Engineering, an online Master of Science in Integrated Supply Chain Management, an online Master of Science in Organizational Change Leadership, and several others.

UW-Stout (uwstout.edu), known as Wisconsin's polytechnic university, is another branch in the University of Wisconsin System, and offers numerous online undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as certificate options. Bachelor's degrees are available online in a range of fields, such as Information and Communication Technologies, Engineering Technology, and even Golf Enterprise Management. At upper levels, students can find a number of online degrees in Wisconsin, including a Master of Science in Education, Master of Science in Manufacturing Engineering, and Master of Science in Technical and Professional Communication.

Sources:
CareerOneStop, Fastest-Growing Occupations
EdSurge
EducationSuperHighway
Lumina Foundation
University of Wisconsin Colleges Online
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Distance Education Provessional Development Certificate Programs
University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Distance Education
University of Wisconsin-Stout, Online

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