Posted: May 16, 2011
Contact: Doug Anderson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 651-201-1426
Rose Youngmark, a 28-year-old mother of six who lives in north Minneapolis, became the 100,000th student to take an online course this year from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system when she registered this semester for a geography course at North Hennepin Community College.
Youngmark plans to complete an Associate in Arts degree this summer from the Brooklyn Park college and then go on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Metropolitan State University.
“I love online classes,” said Youngmark, who took her first online course at Minneapolis Community and Technical College in 2004. “Without them I would not be this far. Last week, I did my final exam for geography after I got all my kids to bed.” Her children range in age from 1 to 10.
“Once I got the hang of online courses, I have come to prefer them,” said Youngmark, who has also taken classes on campus. She said that online learning provided the flexibility to study at home or in neighborhood coffee shops. She even completed one online course in the hospital after giving birth. This summer, Youngmark plans to take three online courses from Metropolitan State University. Her goal is to become a Spanish teacher.
A preliminary estimate for the system’s online enrollment in the 2011 fiscal year is 107,032, up from 95,749 in 2010. That’s an 11.8 percent increase.
Chancellor James H. McCormick said: “Online education brings more opportunities for higher education to students such as Rose Youngmark, whether they live in the Twin Cities, in rural areas or serve overseas in the military. Online courses also are proving popular among students who live on campus because they provide added flexibility in their schedules.”
Minnesota Online, the clearinghouse for online courses in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, offers more than 400 programs and 10,000 courses, making it the largest public provider of online education in Minnesota. A preliminary analysis shows that 19.5 percent of full-year equivalent credits offered in fiscal year 2011 by the system’s colleges and universities were available in online or blended courses, which have some in-class time. That’s up from 17.1 percent in 2010.
Launched in 2002, Minnesota Online hosts and supports online programs and courses offered by the system’s 32 institutions. The service frees the state colleges and universities from much of the cost and labor associated with providing hardware, software and support staff.
Minnesota Online also provides student support, pre-admissions planning and advising seven days a week through e-mail, Ask a Question, Live Chat and a toll free number, 1-800-456-8519. In addition, Minnesota Online provides a wide range of services and noncredit training programs for corporations and businesses.
Click here for a pdf fact sheet about online education.