Interested in online courses? You may want to look into attending college in Minnesota. Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and David Olson, the chair of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) board of trustees, announced a plan to make 25% of the university system's courses available online by 2015. Other state universities, including the University of Minnesota campuses, are strongly encouraged to work towards this goal, as well.
Online courses can benefit students in multiple ways, most notably by saving students living off-campus the cost of commuting and giving them a more flexible schedule so they can more easily juggle work and family commitments in addition to coursework. Additionally, in the cold Minnesota winters, being able to attend class from the comfort of your home is a definite plus (though still having class on those rare snow days could also be seen as a drawback). While online learning requires students to be more self-motivated than those in traditional classes, more and more students are finding such courses appealing.
Online degree programs are gaining popularity across the country. A recent study revealed that over 20 percent of American college students took at least one online course in 2007 and that distance learning enrollment continues to increase. A number of colleges and universities are interested in increasing their online course offerings, and the MnSCU system hopes to beat them to the punch.