University System of Georgia Celebrates National Distance Learning Week
Atlanta — November 7, 2008
The University System of Georgia (USG) will be celebrating National Distance Learning Week Nov. 10-14. Distance and online learning are the fastest growing segments of education, with 3.5 million adults and 700,000 K-12 students nationwide having taken a course and/or completed their degrees completely online. Within the USG – where a quarter of the enrolled students take at least one online or distance-education course – several USG institutions have pooled their resources to offer degrees, certificates and endorsements in high-need subject areas.
The University System of Georgia has an innovative approach to distance learning called Georgia ONmyLINE. Georgia ONmyLINE highlights the distance-education and online offerings of the University System’s 35 colleges and universities. Every semester, approximately 65 percent of USG students enroll in at least one course that is fully or partially taught using distance-learning technology. Featured among the 2,100 courses and 138 degrees and certificates on the searchable Georgia ONmyLINE website are graduate programs for teachers, as well as degree programs in IT, criminal justice, business, international affairs and health informatics.
“Through this site, prospective and enrolled students can quickly find online programs and/or other courses that meet their career or degree needs. They can apply for admission to colleges and universities, and once accepted, register for courses,” says Dr. Kris Biesinger, the USG’s associate vice chancellor for information and instructional technology services.
Current distance-learning students as well as the general public are interested in anytime, anywhere learning because of its flexibility and convenience. Childcare, work schedules, family obligations, gas prices and long drive times are barriers to attending campus-based courses. Andrea Freeman, a working mother who is completing a master of education degree in special education at Valdosta State University agrees, “I couldn’t afford to take time off to go to school. If I had gone to a brick-and-mortar school, I would have had to wait until my child was older.”
In order to meet the needs of a growing Georgia, the USG’s strategic plan calls for expanding the System’s enrollment capacity by up to 40 percent to serve an additional 100,000 students by 2020. To help meet this strategic goal, the USG will increase capacity to accommodate targeted, programmatic growth by increasing the percentage of semester credit hours generated by distance learning from 4 percent now to 8 percent by 2012.
For more information about the University System’s online degree programs, courses, and certificates, please visit http://www.georgiaonmyline.org/. For more information about National Distance Learning Week, please visit http://www.ndlw.org.