Online Enrollment Up At UIS
Online learning is a trend that has grown significantly in recent years, and the University of Illinois Springfield has seen a big uptick in online enrollment this year. UIS has seen a 4.5% increase in online enrollment this fall, with over 30% of the entire student body made up of students who are only taking online classes. However, the growth is nothing new for UIS.
Dr. Vickie Cook is the Director of the UIS Center for Online Learning, Research and Service. She said, "We had online programs that started in late 1999-2000, and we have continued to grow every semester, except for one, throughout that time frame." There are over 1,600 online students at UIS this fall.
Rene Corso is one of those students, who went back to school to get a bachelor's degree in business administration. "Whenever I was younger, it was a lot better for me to go to a classroom," said Rene. "It offered more structure." She says she chose to take online classes because of its convenience.
"Being a little bit older, working full time and having a family, it just made it a lot easier for me to be able to do it online at my own leisure," said Rene.
John McMillan is also an online student who is working towards a bachelor's in management information systems. "For most of the time that I've been going to college, I've worked," said John. "It's helped me to keep down the student loans and also to support myself while going to school." He says online classes allow him to live and work outside of Springfield.
"A lot of the courses are learn at your own pace, and so if i want to get ahead, i can get ahead," said John. "If I have a really busy week at work and I have to put it off until Friday night, then it's caffeine and a late night. So it's that flexibility has been the best benefit for me."
John hopes to gain the experience that he says will give him an advantage over other students. "Having work experience coming out of college gives you a huge advantage over students who were just students the entire time," commented John.
It's not just students like John and Rene that have taken advantage of online schooling, though. The online learning program at UIS has expanded globally. The program has students in 46 states, 2 territories and 9 countries.