Financial, family, and scheduling pressures make it hard for many to set work aside to attend face-to-face classes every week. Increasingly, students want to squeeze their pursuit of degrees into rare patches of downtime — and for these students, the explosion of online class offerings is a godsend, reports the Baltimore Sun. After two years of taking two online classes at the University of Maryland per semester, former Marine Kerry Brandt, 46, is sold on the wonders of online education for a working man with a family. "I actually think I work harder and get more out of it," says Brandt, a computer information technology major. "I can’t imagine going to College Park for two classes every week. I don’t think I could do it and take care of all my other responsibilities." Research suggests that millions of students every year are taking the same path as Brandt. A recent study by Ambient Insight Research predicted that, over the next five years, the number of U.S. students taking online classes will increase from 12 million to 22 million and that the number of students taking classes exclusively face-to-face will decrease from 15 million to 5 million…

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