The phenomenon of e-learning is impacting higher education; 17.3 million students enrolled in 2021 – St George News


For illustrative purposes only, a student sips coffee during an e-learning session | Photo by torwai, iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE- Online learning is nothing new. Even higher education institutions have sprung up partially or entirely online since the University of Phoenix launched its fully online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in 1989 on Compuserve.

For guidance only, a student works to complete an online assignment | Photo by Dumitru
Strelciuc, iStock/Getty Image Plus, St. George News

During the pandemic, 98% of US universities have moved to remote learning. Since then, more and more students are pursuing their studies online, with 17.3 million students in the United States studying online in 2021 – full or part-time.

Bay Atlantic University research found that:

  • 85% of students agreed that online learning helped improve their critical thinking and problem solving skills.
  • 60% of students agreed that online learning helped further improve soft skills.
  • 63% of students engaged in online learning because it better suited their lifestyle.
  • 34% of students said online learning was their preferred way of learning.
  • The fields with the most online learners for undergraduate degrees were business (26%), computer science and computing (15%), and arts and humanities (15%).

Best US Universities for Online Learning

That being said, experts at ProWritingAid have ranked the best US universities for online studies, using data from the US Bachelor’s Degree Programs Ranking Indicator. The ranking compares the following factors:

Engagement Score – This measures student satisfaction and instructor responsiveness. The maximum possible value is 100.

Faculty degrees and training score – This measures how well a school prepares qualified instructors to teach remotely. The maximum possible value is 100.

Rating of services and technologies – This measures how well a school prepares qualified instructors to teach remotely. The maximum possible value is 100.

Expert opinion note – rated by experts. The maximum possible value is five.

The scores were then tallied to reveal the best online universities in the USA.

First up, with a total score of 267.2 out of 305, is South Carolina Medical School in Columbia, South Carolina. The university scored high for engagement, 88 out of 100, and received 100 out of 100 for degrees and faculty development. 100% of the class of 2022 have also obtained a residency position – with 16.6% pursuing studies in internal medicine.

In second place, with a score of 263.5 out of 305, is Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona, Florida. Embry-Riddle also received the highest score for services and technology.

Third place was awarded to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with 253.5 out of 305, a high score for engagement, 90 out of 100, and faculty credentials and training, 94 out of 100.

The list also includes Ohio State University, Columbus, with a score of 245.5 out of 305, North Carolina State University, with 242.4, and The University of Central Florida, with a score of 231.9.

The study was conducted by ProWritingAid, which offers world-class grammar and style checking combined with more in-depth reporting to help users strengthen their writing.

Learners accessing e-learning

Other facts revealed by the ProWriting Aid study include:

  • The United States leads with 17.3 million online students, followed by India with 13.6 million.
  • Many students opt for online courses due to lower overall costs. Although per-credit tuition may be the same as on campus, students will not have to pay for on-campus housing, meal plans, or travel expenses.
  • Many students believe that the flexibility of online learning can better suit their lifestyle. Many online courses run asynchronously, which means you can study around your schedule rather than following a typical university day.
  • Juggling work, life and school is not an easy thing to do. However, employers recognize and admire the time management skills required, which can be beneficial when applying for positions after graduation.
  • Students in online programs come not only from the United States, but from all over the world. As a result, class discussions present a wider range of perspectives, helping to improve students’ cross-cultural understanding and allowing students to interact with different nationalities and cultures.
  • The online degree also equates to strong technical skills, a definite plus for any job seeker. Students use digital learning materials, often learn new tools and software, and solve common problems, which will benefit them in employment.

Written by MARIA CAITRIONA, Associated Press

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