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UTA online classes contribute to record high enrollment

By Zanab Jaffrey
Staff Writer

UTA’s enrollment increase of 35 percent during the last five years includes a record high online enrollment for the College of Nursing.

The College of Nursing has a spring online enrollment of nearly 8,000 students, four times more than it was five years ago. Almost 70 percent of the UT Arlington nursing students are enrolled in the university’s popular online degree programs. Online enrollment has seen a continued growth in business, nursing and engineering, according to UT Arlington’s Feb. 1 press release.

Director of Distance Education, James Stewart, says demanding schedules and advances in technology are behind student’s decision to take online classes. Online classes and degree programs are attracting more students each semester. Interactive classrooms and online chat have made learning online a reality for students who have demanding schedules and can’t come to campus.

“There are people out there that can’t quit their jobs because they have families and careers…those students make online education a reality,” Stewart said.

Some students say the online catalog doesn’t help every major. Broadcast senior Susan Phan is single and 24 years old. She said she would take more classes online if they were available to her.

“I wish it was an option for me,” she said. “I have taken online classes before and really liked them. The classes I need just aren’t offered online.”

Assistant professor of Literacy Studies, Dr. Peggy Semingson, said online classes provide a flexible schedule for everyone.

“It’s convenient…the traffic, parking and gas…it all costs money and time,” she said.

UTA already offers full online degree programs with Finish@UT. A two-year long program that allows students with 60 hours or more of college credit to choose online classes offered by any of the UT campuses. It’s a great choice for adults who already have a career but never got the chance to get their degree, Stewart said.

While some students still prefer to be in the classroom, others want to know if online classes will be available to them in the future. Stewart said UTA intends to expand the online catalog and add more complete online degree programs.

Evolving technology is making learning online a possibility for students with busy schedules and lives. Photo courtesy of webster.edu

Programs like Finish@UT allow students to choose a UT school and graduate after completing a 2-year long online program. Photo courtesy of math.byu.edu.

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