Michigan’s higher education institutions, both public and private, are embracing education’s general shift toward online and distance-based education. Online schools in Michigan offer new degree programs on a regular basis, and traditional campuses are expanding their current services to include online components. Additional statewide programs have also been implemented, in order to involve more students in online education, higher education, and education in Michigan.
Higher Learning Initiatives
Online Programs at Colleges
Public colleges, such as Central Michigan University, Western Michigan University, Michigan State University and University of Michigan-Flint offer online degree programs for students as extensions or, in some cases, as entire virtual campuses. Students have access to myriad degree plans, including bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate programs. Some school’s programs also offer brief webinars on subjects for students who may want to sample online education before committing.
Massive Open Online Courses, better known as MOOCs, are a relatively new development in the realm of online education. They are courses taught by college professors that are opened up to not only the school’s students, but those around the world who may or may not be enrolled in a college program. Whereas students enrolled in a degree program may in some cases be eligible for credit for taking the course, other students enrolled in the course may simply want the knowledge they can now access for free. The goal of MOOCs is to spread knowledge of course material, to demonstrate the power and effectiveness of online education, and in some cases to ultimately increase college enrollment. The University of Michigan offers several courses through Coursera.
Michigan Virtual University
Started in the late 1990s, Michigan Virtual University offers blended instruction, webinars, and more for students in grades K through 12. Originally started as a way to educate the workforce, it has now morphed into an exclusive offering for younger students, preparing them for the digital world ahead. It offers more than 150 online courses to more than 20,000 students in 500 school districts. By starting students in online education at a young age, it is more likely that students will be able to not only succeed but thrive in an online college learning environment.