(ARA) - It doesn't take a
college degree to figure out that the world has changed significantly
since your parents graduated from high school and began careers. The
necessity of having an education to make the kind of living youíd like, in
a career of your choosing, is greater than ever before.
According to labor statistics,
60 percent of all jobs in 1950 could be filled with unskilled labor. By
2005, it is estimated that 85 percent of all the new jobs created will
require skilled labor.
And, while education is increasingly pivotal to oneís success, the cost
of education continues to rise. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the
average cost of college tuition and room and board for the 1998-1999
school year at four-year colleges and universities was $8,629 -- a 60
percent increase from 1989-1990. The same costs for private colleges
rose nearly 70 percent.
In addition to rising costs, there are other factors making education
less accessible, such as the conflicting obligations of a job, children
and/or personal activities. Although these issues can present additional
challenges for all adult learners pursuing degrees, research has defined
some of the barriers common to women.
According to the Commonwealth of Online Learning, significant barriers
to women continuing their educations include the fixed hours of
institutional learning, the substantial attendance requirement, the
"lockstep" approach to curriculum, lack of child-care facilities, and
unfriendly course information.
Kim Johnson, a mother of two young boys and a full-time human resources
manager, is earning a masterís degree online. "No one warned us how hard
it is to juggle it all: kids, career and other obligations," she says.
"But earning a degree online has exposed me not only to the convenience
of the Internet, but also to relevant course information and the
insights and experiences of the other students in the classes I'm
Johnson's experience with online education reflects a major shift in the
adult learning paradigm. In an era when education has never been more
important, online learning enables anyone to earn a degree without
neglecting work, family or other personal obligations, and without any
geographic or time barriers. Without such flexibility, many adult
learners could not continue their educations.
Several "traditional" universities have online course offerings, but
those are often limited and may not be broad enough to constitute entire
degree programs. Other universities have been developed solely to
provide online courses and degrees, but many are of them not accredited,
which can affect the value of their graduatesí degrees in the job
market. With careful research, adult students can find accredited
educational programs offered entirely online to advance their careers.
One example is Jones International University (JIU), a pioneer in online
higher education and the first fully online, accredited university. JIU
offers 27 undergraduate and graduate degrees and 55 executive and
professional certificate programs. Leveraging the power of the Internet,
JIU is able to deliver courses developed by faculty from leading
universities around the world, including Georgetown, Stanford, Carnegie
Mellon and the London School of Economics.
JIU students can earn bachelorís and masterís degrees, including a
Master of Arts in Business Communication; seven Master of Business
Administration degrees; six Master of Education in e-Learning degrees; a
Bachelor of Arts in Business Communication; five Bachelor of Science in
Information Technology degrees; and seven Bachelor of Business
"Actually, I find I interact more with the professor and other students
than I ever did in a traditional university setting," says Johnson, a
JIU student. "Some courses even require two or three comments to fellow
students on specific projects."
"And class sizes are often small enough to gain a lot of insight and
information based on the backgrounds and experience of the others in the
class," she says. "I find that I'm more vocal and uninhibited in my
interactions than I ever was in a classroom."
Johnson says online course work requires self-discipline and motivation,
but the courses are structured to make sure students keep pace. "Every
week we are given a deadline for a project or other course work," she
explains. "The instructors make sure everyone is on track and give
assignments that force us to apply what we're learning to everyday,
JIU is an international institution, bringing together renowned
instructors and students from more than 100 countries, which lends a
global perspective to each course. Students work at their own pace,
logging on to their courses when and from where it is most convenient
for them. JIU provides around-the-clock technical support via telephone
or e-mail, academic counseling, mentoring and other guidance programs,
as well as an online library. In addition, courses begin each month,
which gives students the flexibility to schedule their degree or
certificate work around the demands of work or home. Class sizes do not
exceed 25 students, so students are assured of maximum interaction with
instructors and fellow students.
Earning a college degree, or keeping up with technological changes to
enhance an existing degree, is essential for anyone who wants to thrive
and grow in the global economy. The right online institution makes
either of these goals feasible for the busy adult learners, while still
providing the comprehensive, in-depth educational experience associated
with traditional college degrees.
For additional information about Jones International University, visit