Online learning benefits each student differently. Some students may need the time flexibility, where they can hop online and submit materials after hours or early in the morning before work. Others gravitate toward the location flexibility, being able to work from home, a coffee shop or anywhere else that fits into their lifestyle. And for those who need a hands-on element to their education, many online programs have the best of both worlds, allowing for remote coursework but including campus-based or other on-site laboratory experiences.
To a certain degree, online degrees have had a persistent stigma—a reputation that they are not on-par with those earned on-campus. However, the tide seems to be shifting because non-profit colleges (both private and public) have created online programs that rival those traditional degrees. In fact, a recent study shows that 76 percent of academic leaders agree that degrees taught online are equal to their on-campus counterparts.
Although enrollment in online degree programs has continued to tick upwards during the past decade, it has recently slowed in the past few years. However, both public and private not-for-profit colleges and universities continue to experience respectable increases. From 2012 - 2013, research from the Babson Institute shows that enrollment in online classes rose nearly 5 percent at public institutions and almost 13 percent for private nonprofits. Here’s a closer look at the growth numbers by volume for online learners by institution type in 2013.
While most schools prepare students for their career right after they graduate, East Carolina University prepares students for a changing world. This means that their degree programs are designed to give students the knowledge to adapt to changing fields so that they can advance throughout their life. This is particularly true for students who earn an online degree from ECU. Residents of North Carolina and students from across the nation can complete their bachelor's degree online, but what really makes ECU one of the best online colleges in the nation is their master's degree program. With dozens of degrees and focuses available at the graduate level, ECU prepares students for a long, prosperous future in their career.

National University features an online Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education. The program focus is on inclusive curricula and best practices for educating children birth to age 5.  Admission requires a diploma with a minimum GPA of 2.0 or the GED. Transfer students should also have a minimum GPA of 2.0. Policies on transfer credit and credit for prior experience are generous. Classes are offered in a one class per four-week term format. Courses offered include Partnering with Families, Music, Movements, Drama, Dance, and Crisis Trauma and Abuse. Online tuition is $370 per quarter credit. National University's home campus is in San Diego. The program requires a teaching practicum, and a background check is mandatory. NU is extremely military friendly. Arkansas residents should check with the admissions office regarding program availability.
The University of Oklahoma is a large public research school that offers various degrees for students with all types of interests. A highly regarded school, OU tries to give each student a unique, valuable education that works for them. To help with this, OU has an extended campus where students can study online. There are many different courses offered online, all of which can either go toward a degree or help bolster a student's education in whichever field they're interested in. OU is considered to be one of the best online schools in the state for graduate degrees, particularly because they offer a wide variety of master's degrees online. This is ideal for students that are busy with work or family and cannot regularly commute to campus for classes.
Florida International University has an online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education degree completion program. Admission requires 60 college credits or an associate's degree, and the CLAST. The program covers education from age 3 to grade 3. The focus is on understanding learning and development, working with families and teaching. The program does not lead to teaching certification. The degree requires 126 credits. Courses offered include Language and Literacy Development, Teaching Beginning Literacy, and Community and the Young Child. Online tuition is $212.71 per credit for residents and $299.97 for nonresidents. A background check is mandatory. FIU is one of the most diverse universities in the country.
Nova Southeastern University’s distance program doesn’t just serve students at one of the remote campuses, but also students that are studying online. Nova Southeastern University offers their online courses as part of the Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic Campus program, meaning that each course offered online is fully accredited. This rigorous accreditation makes Nova one of the best online colleges in Florida for students that are looking for a high-quality education. Nova offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, some of which have earned the school distinctions. For example, Nova is considered one of the best online schools for graduate nursing, graduate education and criminal justice, all of which are already popular fields for online students.
FIU provides a wide range of online undergraduate and graduate degrees. A total of 42 online bachelor's options include five hospitality management tracks and degrees in specialized fields such as crime science, internet of things, and sustainability and the environment. Offerings also include 17 online undergraduate minors and three combined bachelor's and master's pathways. FIU's online graduate options include 31 master of science tracks and MBA, master of public administration, and doctor of nursing practice pathways.
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