Old Dog, New Trick: Prestigious Universities


Traditional universities are participating more and more in online education by offering classes and degree programs (photo courtesy of maxymedia on flickr).

It’s no secret that online education has been steadily increasing over the years. In fact, a 2009 Sloan Survey of Online Learning reported that 65% of traditional universities were offering online classes at the time. Based on the 2012 Survey of Online Learning by Sloan, in the fall 2011 semester there were 6.7 million students enrolled in at least one online class. With these numbers being no secret to the administrators at prestigious universities throughout the United States, many have started to offer not just online courses, but complete degree and certificate programs.

Duke University

A highly selective private research university located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke University was originally established in 1838 in Trinity, North Carolina. Now-a-days, the university has started to branch out into the distance education world, offering a few classes and professional certificates online each semester.

  • Legal Nurse Consulting
  • Paralegal
  • Paralegal Specialist
  • Certificate in Nonprofit Management

Harvard University

Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University was established in 1632 and is credited as the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Distance Education courses are available at Harvard in two formats: Video and live web-conferencing. The university offers more than 200 courses via distance education each spring and fall semester and a complete list can be found on the school’s website.

Rutgers University

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey was established in 1766 as Queen’s College. It is the eighth-oldest college in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges founded prior to the American Revolution. Originally a private university only open to male students, the university is now public and coeducational.

The Center for Online and Hybrid Learning is dedicated to assisting students who decide to pursue their education through non-traditional avenues. The Center provides access to information on the various types of distance education, the courses and degree programs being offered each semester, a network of staff to assist students, and an online resource section.

Liberty University

The youngest private school on the list is Liberty University, established in 1971 and Christian-based in Lynchburg, Virginia. With online education included, LU is the largest Evangelical University in the world based on enrollment.

Offering education from high school through the doctoral level, Liberty University has more than 160 online degree programs. Enrollment dates can be a little confusing, however, so be sure you understand the term dates prior to starting classes. For example, each term consists of three sub terms worked into a fourteen to seventeen week full term.

University of Notre Dame

The history of Notre Dame dates back to 1842 when it first opened its doors as an all-male institution in Indiana. Women were not enrolled until 1972 and only as undergraduates. Today, Notre Dame’s enrollment is roughly 11,000 spread throughout six different colleges of study.

Notre Dame does not currently offer any degree programs in 100% online format. Instead, the Mendoza College of Business has launched four certificates one can earn upon completion of the required courses:

  • Executive Certificate in Negotiation
  • Executive Certificate in Leadership and Management
  • Executive Certificate in Business Administration
  • Advanced Specialized Certificate in Intercultural Management

Ashley Benson is a distance education professional with five years of experience in the for-profit sector. She has worked coast-to-coast within the United States as an academic advisor, an adjunct teaching assistant and, most recently, a campus Registrar. Through formal education and industry experience, Ashley practices staying informed on the current events and changes within higher education and the students involved.

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