Engaging English: Lowering the Barriers

As online learning courses continue to grow in popularity, many institutions of higher learning have begun to provide online degree programs for distance learners.  Even on-campus student populations now embrace online options.  According to this Education News article, public support of online learning is growing rapidly.  As the article points out, although public opinion is fairly static from one year to the next on most issues, in just one year (2009 to 2010) the public’s perception of the value of online learning has grown ten percentage points.

 In response to public demand, universities have steadily expanded their online course offerings to include a wide range of academic areas, notably foreign languages.  Many schools are now offering more hybrid courses, courses that provide a combination of online and classroom learning.  This uptick in hybrid courses has resulted in an increase of web-based products now available to support online learning.  According to the New York Times:

These days, online programs and CDs…are grabbing the interest of people attracted by their convenience and relatively low cost.  But more schools are offering their own online-only language courses as part of extension programs. (more…)

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