Online learning is on the rise in the Wichita area as colleges and universities are embracing the need for more user-friendly courses. Wichita State University, Friends University and Newman University are seeing an increase in online enrollment.
Butler Community College has seen a 16 percent increase in enrollment this year, with double-digit increases in each of the past three years, said Meg McGranaghan, director of Butler’s online learning. The college has 4,000 students worldwide taking up to 7,500 online class positions.
“Online education is incredibly popular, consistently showing the largest growth area,” said Tiffany Sowa, director of Cowley online, where she said online enrollment has grown 30 percent in the past two years. “The convenience of accessing your classes anytime, combined with the varying start dates and class length, make online education anywhere highly desirable.”
At Hutchinson Community College, about 2,770 students are enrolled in online classes, a number than has been on the rise for several years, said Linda Seabaugh, Hutchinson Community College online student specialist.
“We’ve found a lot of students really appreciate online classes because it cuts down on expenses such as gas,” she said. “Plus, a lot of students can work and do class when they can. Online is so flexible.”
While some schools were unable to provide exact numbers of online enrollment, reported seeing an increase for online classes during the fall semester.
Here’s a breakdown of what’s new in online learning for local colleges and how to get started or return to school by taking online classes.
Baker University, 618 Eighth St., Baldwin CityOnline programs: What’s new:
Case said students from across the country — including those deployed with the military — are taking online courses though Baker.What’s popular:
“At Baker, we have ensured that whether you take a course on ground or online, it is the same course, just taught a different way,” Case said. “We want all students to have the same learning experience though both online and traditional classes.”For more information,
Bethel College, 300 27th St., North Newton
Butler Community College, 901 S. Haverhill Road, El DoradoOnline programs: What’s new:
“Everything is more engaging,” McGranaghan said. “Students don’t have to listen to a three-hour lecture video anymore. They can learn what they need to learn through nuggets of information. Teachers can put their voices to PowerPoints, and students can replay the slide they don’t understand over and over while listening to the teachers help.”What’s popular:
“They can post a video of a select problem, work it out and explain it, allowing students to watch the one problem over and over until they understand it,” she said.For more information,
Cowley College, 125 S. Second St., Arkansas CityOnline programs: What’s new: What’s popular: For more information,
Emporia State University, 1200 Commercial St., EmporiaWhat’s new: What’s popular: For more information,
Friends University, 2100 W. University Ave., WichitaOnline programs: What’s new:
“Moodle is more organic,” said Jim Maddox, professor and director of science and development. “It allows us more flexibility to adapt to special classes. Students can access via tablets or phones and go to class from anywhere.”What’s popular: For more information,
Hutchinson Community College, 1300 North Plum, HutchinsonOnline programs: What’s new: What’s popular: For more information,
Kansas State University, 116 Ackert Hall, ManhattanOnline programs:
“Our effort is to encourage people to be a part of the campus but know that people have lives, jobs and businesses,” said Sue Maes, dean of continuing education. “Thanks to distance learning and working with local schools, we can offer degree completion programs to help every Kansan be an educated Kansan.”
Maes said that 2,300 KSU students are taking online-only classes while 5,675 are enrolled in both online and traditional classes.What’s new:
KSU is working to get several more undergraduate and master’s programs fully online.What’s popular: For more information,
Newman University, 3100 McCormick St. WichitaOnline programs:
Newman has about 100 students online, but the program is gaining popularity annually, he said.What’s new: What’s popular: For more information,
Tabor College, 400 S. Jefferson, HillsboroOnline programs: What’s new: What’s popular: For more information,
Southwestern College, 100 College St., WinfieldOnline programs:
The college has 1,000 students online and 900 who attend the main campus, said Pamela Momaco, vice president of professional studies.What’s new: What’s popular: For more information,
University of Kansas, 1502 Iowa Street, LawrenceOnline programs:
The university reports having more than 2,200 students taking more than 200 online courses this semester. That’s about a 200 student increase from fall, Loats said.What’s new: What’s popular: For more information,
Vatterott College, 8853 E. 37th St. North, WichitaOnline programs: What’s new: What’s popular:
Wichita Area Technical College, 4004 N. Webb, WichitaOnline programs:
WATC has around 1,650 students enrolled this semester.What’s new: What’s popular: For more information,
Wichita State University, 1845 Fairmount St., WichitaWhat’s new: What’s popular: For more information,
Wright Career College, 7700 E. Kellogg in Towne East Mall, Wichita
The college, which arrived to Wichita in April 2011, offers associate and bachelor’s degrees in business, technical and medical areas. It has 400 students and plans to launch its online learning division on March 12.