Year over year, online higher education keeps growing in popularity. When you dive deeper into this rising trend, you can see the wide variety of online programs that students are taking advantage of. Around 5.8 million students have enrolled in at least one kind of online course, as per a report released earlier in 2015. With busy schedules and an overall lack of time that students have to sit through the lectures, many opting for online colleges in order to save time and avoid compromising on their educational qualifications.
If you’re an online student in 2017, there’s a lot in store for you! In the last few years, more and more students continue to enrol in online bachelor’s degree programs and online university courses. Employers increasingly accept online degrees from job candidates.
Here are a few trends which experts say that students will witness in online education in 2017.
- More emphasis on non-conventional credentials
These days, companies have started offering credentials apart from degrees to online learners which range from digital badges to other achievements to different certificate programs which highlight skills. In the year 2017, there are many experts who predict that universities and colleges will soon become more focused on granting microcredentials. Universities will focus more on serving individuals, even if they are professionals who seek credentials or different learning experiences.
- Artificial intelligence will be found in classes
During an online course in Georgia Tech on artificial intelligence, the professor utilized a virtual coach called Jill Watson to communicate with students. Alarmingly, most students failed to even realize that they were chatting with nothing more than a computer. There are few experts who predict that artificial intelligence will become widely used in improving support and offering student assistance.
Use of real-time data to measure performance of students
Since online students complete their education and courses virtually, universities and course providers can gather data in remarkable quantities. Technology has started playing a vital role in shaping higher education and making it more accessible and intuitive. In 2017, online colleges will continue to leverage real-time data to improve, measure and predict how exactly their students are performing. This will also help them shape curriculums to meet the needs of online students.
- Online certifications & degrees in specialized disciplines
Fields like nursing, business, cybersecurity and data analytics will remain popular streams of online education. Many companies already partner with universities for specific graduate degrees and certifications, and in 2017 you can expect increased efforts among schools to launch new degree programs to tailor specifically to different disciplines.
Online learning continues to attract people who are looking to change careers, gain extra credentials or find an alternative to traditional college that better suits their needs. Whatever may be the case, online degrees are gaining widespread acceptance and proving to be a valuable avenue for higher education.