As a result of recent events, educators believe higher education could become more accessible as colleges look for innovative ways to teach their students. Traditional campus life has been turned upside down and every aspect, from large lectures to individual student support, has been moved online. Worried about mounting debt and other responsibilities, an increasing number of students were already embracing alternative ways of gaining qualifications and experience. The current situation will no doubt have an effect on the way future students choose to move forward, as they look for new ways of learning that are more relevant, but just as impactful, as traditional methods.
Many students are reluctant or unable to commit four years of their life to a degree. For those able to handle the pace of accelerated learning, a 2 year bachelor degree could provide them with the qualification they need in a much shorter space of time. An accessible and flexible course can be tailored to fit around a busy schedule without compromising on the quality of teaching and qualifications gained. Transferable work experience or college credit helps to open the door to fewer classes and flexible timetables, enabling students to start on their chosen career path sooner. And with lower tuition rates, a shorter duration of study and no accommodation costs, accelerated bachelor or masters degrees also enable students to minimize their student debt and lost income.
Any student choosing an accelerated degree course will most likely undertake all their learning online. Studies have shown that already around a third of higher education students are taking at least one distance-learning course, and now, of course, all students are accessing their degree tuition online. By moving away from traditional campus degrees, students can study a wide range of subjects in a time frame that suits them. Over 60% of students taking online courses choose this method as it fits in better with their other responsibilities. In many cases, without a traditional and more restrictive timetable, they are able to continue working and live at home, making their studies more cost effective.
An Early Start
For high school students looking forward to a career in STEM, a new model of public education enables them to gain a high school and a two year post secondary degree. P-Tech is an initiative devised by IBM and through a combination of course work and workplace experience helps to prepare students for either a further four-year degree or to enter into the workforce in high-growth industries such as IT or healthcare. As expenses are covered by local school district funding, students are able to gain affordable and accelerated access to college or work.
Students are increasingly looking for flexible and cost-effective ways to study and achieve their career goals. Higher education has adapted well to recent restrictive and challenging circumstances, and the resulting innovative modes of study together with established online technology are making degree level study even more accessible and attainable for all.