Online Universities growing in popularity

COLUMBIA (WACH) - The incredible convenience of online college courses has opened a door of opportunity for students all over the world. Online education is still fairly new and growing in popularity, but officials say many people remain unsure about this form of higher education.

Officials say myths and false information about online education continue to circulate, leaving potential students confused or doubtful about distance learning.

â??More Americans these days are going towards the non-traditional format because they've got to work, they've got families, they've got responsibilities, so this works for the majority of Americans now,â?? said Zina Hampton, a faculty member at the University of Phoenix in Columbia. Hampton says that attendance in her traditional classroom is going up along with her online classroom.

Hampton says â??sometimes they are a little hesitant because they are not sure how do I succeed without a live person in front of me but we have so many methods of being in touch with the student.â??

Methods like online forums, email, and blogs. Hampton says that she is constantly writing to make sure her students feel at ease online. â??We simply communicate more online so they feel like even though Iâ??m not looking at you itâ??s almost like youâ??re right there with me because there is constant contact in some form or another.â??

Stephanie Credle is a student at the university taking a mix of online and traditional classes. She says that with her full-time job, it's more convenient to log on rather than show up.

â??I didn't have to worry about trying to rush to class or miss class. I could log on at 11:00 at night and still do what I needed to do as long as I met those requirements,â?? said Credle.

The requirements can include: writing papers, answering online questions and posting to the their professorâ??s blog.

â??There is someone that you have to be accountable to in an online university, you do have a facilitator you do have someone that you have to answer to that grades your papers that make you participate that makes you contribute to the discussions that are going on, so you know in this day and age, you have the internet, the world wide web and all of that and it's just a different way of going to class,â?? said Credle.

Are you considering going back to school and if so, would you consider obtaining an online degree? Leave your comments below.