Kent State’s online class enrollment has reached a record high with more than 40 percent of students registered for distance learning this semester.
More than 16,000 students are registered for online classes this semester, an 8.9 percent increase from last fall.
This growth sets Kent State apart from other universities, said Deborah Huntsman, associate vice president for continuing and distance learning.
“In terms of the national marketplace, when you look at other universities like ourselves, most are not seeing this continuing significant growth,” Huntsman said. “They’re starting to slow down in terms of comparison year over year.”
Huntsman said that some students might find online classes are a better fit for their busy lifestyles, which may account for the enrollment spike. Online classes allow students to work on their classes at any time.
Students with busy schedules tend to enroll in online classes, said Amy Wilkens, an academic advisor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
“A lot of times it’s students that need the time freed up,” Wilkens said. “They may have a job or they’re involved in student media or after school activities.”
Allison Christ, a senior criminology and justice studies major, said she agrees online classes are more convenient for hectic schedules.
“I’ve taken online classes because with balancing between internships, work and classes it’s easier to have one class taken online so that it becomes less of a hassle,” Christ said.
In addition to individual online classes, Kent State offers students the opportunity to earn degrees without ever stepping foot in the classroom. Online master’s degrees in multiple programs include public relations, instructional technology, library media and public health.
The university plans to continue to work on developing new degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels, Huntsman said.
She said the university offers online programs in order to make obtaining a degree possible for all students.
“We want to give as many students as possible the opportunity to begin or finish a degree,” Huntsman said.
Contact Erica Batyko at [email protected]