Thanks to the rise of the internet and other technological advances, online college and university degree programs are more plentiful than ever before. According to figures from the U.S. Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics, while postsecondary enrollment dropped by nearly 90,000 students from 2016 to 2017, the number of students pursuing coursework online grew by 350,000. This trend should continue to grow as cutting-edge tools make online learning even more accessible, engaging, and effective. Take virtual reality capabilities, for example: VR devices can be used for all sorts of purposes, from creating virtual labs for chemistry experiments to simulating medical procedures. This allows for exciting opportunities that will take distance learning to the next level.
Community colleges have been offering courses online for some 20 years, but now most public and private non-profit universities also offer at least some of their programs online. While online studies were once considered novel, they are now becoming mainstream as major colleges and universities with longstanding reputations adopt this educational model. Maryville University is one online college in Missouri that has followed suit, extending its nearly 150 years of academic excellence into the rapidly growing online space: In January 2019, the university announced it was expanding its well established online degree programs to add 12 additional options for students to choose from, two master’s degrees and 10 bachelor’s degrees. Find out more about the benefits such Missouri colleges and universities have to offer below.
Types of Online Degree Programs Available Through an Online University in Missouri
Online learning programs cover a diverse range of subject areas. For example, popular programs at Maryville University’s online college in Missouri include the master’s in nursing, master’s in business administration, and bachelor’s in criminal justice. Beyond a diverse offering of both business and healthcare degrees online, there are also several liberal arts degrees available, in subjects such as English, sociology, and history. Regardless of the subject area, the Maryville faculty uses innovative approaches to engage learners. Susan Bartel, assistant director of the higher education leadership program, highlights tools such as a simulated consulting firm and a scenario app as examples. She explains: “I really try to think about what it is like to be a student in one of our courses sitting 3,000 miles away — or further if they are international — and how I can draw them in to what the community of learners really means and what it is so that they can walk away from the course not only with information but really feeling connected to the students, the faculty, and, ultimately, the university.”
To keep students engaged, online degrees typically take a multifaceted approach to knowledge transfer. Online lectures and accompanying coursework are just one part of a comprehensive program. Project-based courses are often offered, allowing students to put what they have learned into practice with hands-on work. One benefit of this kind of course is that the resulting project can be used to start a portfolio of work that graduates can subsequently use to show off their skills to employers, increasing their odds of success in the job market. Additionally, projects requiring teamwork allow students to get to know one another, creating a sense of camaraderie despite the distance between them. This can be comforting and motivating to individuals who are otherwise largely working independently.
To further assure that students get the practical skills they need, many Missouri online colleges offer experiential learning opportunities that count toward their degrees. For example, students in the online Bachelor of Science in Senior Living Management program at Maryville University pursue a practicum course as part of their studies. They have the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge in the context of an approved field-based experience, supervised by the course instructor. Meanwhile, students in the online Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice who are interested in law enforcement may be able to obtain credit for successful completion of police academy training through select academies. Alternatively, criminal justice students may opt for a non-police academy track and through an internship and seminar courses, complete project-based learning at social and protective service agencies.
Ready to learn more about one of Maryville’s online programs? Download a brochure for more information about the program you are interested in pursuing.