Online Degree Programs: The Only Option for Busy Adult Learners

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Online instruction is referred to as teaching and learning that is mediated by a computer (Jones, 1997). Although the motivation for enrollment and retention in an online program for adult students is discussed in the literature review, the types of instruction may vary from simple correspondence or asynchronous communication through electronic mail, chat rooms for classroom discussion, and video-taped classes.

Online programs and virtual universities are an answer to adult students who are very busy with their lives in their careers and family life and cannot or will not attend a traditional university that holds sessions in a classroom on a campus, most often during the daytime hours when adult students are at work. However, online
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Profiles of Online Students

The Colorado Community College (2001) or CCC found that students were "older, more mature" meaning perhaps that they were not the usual age ranges of eighteen to twenty-one. The gender was 63% female, and 37% male, as opposed to the ratio of 40% females and 60% males for CPU (Drews, 2001, personal communication) which includes not only Americans, but Asian and Southeast Asian students as well. Ten percent of CCC students are from abroad from countries in South America, Africa, and in the Caribbean (CCC, 2001). Lakeland College (2001), gave a profile of online students as forty-four percent being between the ages of twenty-six to forty. Sixty-five percent female, 52% have a family income of $25,000 to $50,000 per year, 60% employed for thirty or more hours per week, 83% having their own computers, and 79% accessing the Internet from the home (LLC, 2001). Dille et al. (1997) noted that in the community college studied, the more academically successful student is likely to be married, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, completed more than thirty college credit hours, with an internal locus of control and an abstract learning style. For CPU, as confirmed by the president and administrator, the students are also older, ranging from mid-twenties to sixties, with full-time employment, good computer skills, and some college experience and

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