Half of parents: children will take online courses

Online course attendance has increased for 10 consecutive years.

Transferring at least some of the college experience may now be par for the educational course, as more than half of parents who responded to a recent survey said their kids would take for-credit online classes this year.

The survey, conducted by Fidelity, showed that 54 percent of parents said their children would live at home, commute to some courses, and take online classes in the meantime.

Online course attendance has increased by 29 percent since 2010, according to Columbia University’s Community College Research Center.

Babson Survey Research Group, which tracks online course attendance across higher education, reported in January that online college attendance increased for the 10th consecutive year in 2013, with more than 6.7 million people — about three in 10 college students — taking web-based classes.

“The rate of growth in online enrollments remains extremely robust, even as overall higher education enrollments have shown a decline,” said study co-author Jeff Seaman, co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group.

Babson officials points to massive open online courses (MOOCs) as a potential expansion of online college attendance as universities adopt the massive classes and some offer credit for each course.

“Institutional opinions on MOOCs are mixed,” Babson study co-author I. Elaine Allen said in a statement. “Some praise them for their ability to learn about online pedagogy and attract new students, but concerns remain about whether they are a sustainable method for offering courses.”

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