The OpenCourseWare Consortium says there are few other revolutions more important in the 21st centuries than the revolution of open education. The platform has been promoting open courseware for a long time now and has managed to convince over 200 institutions around the world to adopt this policy. What are its benefits? The OCW advocates three main perks:
- Providing access to knowledge and the sharing of knowledge in remote corners of the world, where secondary education is scarcely available, or even completely unavailable.
- Piquing the learners’ interest in higher learning and maintaining it in time, through the diverse range of courses offered online;
- Recruiting and retaining students, while also developing curricula through unprecedented collaborative efforts among members of the academic world.
One of the 200 schools which have joined in on the revolutionary efforts is the prestigious Penn State American university. The school runs a portal titled the World Campus and takes pride in having been one of the first top accredited universities to provide online access to education, as early as 1998. In fact, their website also reminds us they were one of the firs t U.S. schools to offer correspondence courses, as early as 1892 – so online training was just the next logical step. This top school makes some great courses available online, to learners the world over – irrespective of their education level, background, or geographic whereabouts. If you’re curious about Penn State online courses, here is our selection of some of the most important facts regarding this school.
Top online bachelor’s programs
Perhaps the most important ranking of U.S. higher learning institutions and programs is published annually by U.S. News. In 2014, the publication awarded Penn State with the 3rd ranking in its chart of the best online bachelor’s programs. The programs have been available since the 2000-2001 year and all of them are conveniently recorded and archived. In other words, if you enroll in such a program and want full, instant access to any course ever, you can easily find everything, neatly organized and up for viewing and downloading on the World Campus website. Those interested in applying can do so by the end of June (June 30) each year.
Great rankings for online education overall
Speaking of the afore-mentioned U.S. News ranking, just about all the programs and courses offered at Penn State are top-notch. Not only does the school currently rank 3rd for the best online bachelor’s programs, but it’s doing quite well in all the other departments, too. it charted at #17 for the best online graduate business programs, #6 for the best online graduate computer information technology programs, #25 for the best online graduate education programs, and #5 for the best online graduate engineering programs. It’s worth bearing in mind that the U.S. News yearly survey takes into account almost 1,000 schools in the country and only assesses those that meet the federal standard of 100 per cent online courses.
A whole lot of firsts
Penn State likes to pride itself in being an innovator, when it comes to distance secondary education. As such, over the past year alone, it’s been announcing a slew of new programs that are bound to diversify its certificate and degree program to unprecedented extents. In July, for instance, it announced its new offer of an online masters in geodesign. In June, it revealed no fewer than three new programs: a renewable energy certificate program, its first ever doctoral program in nursing, and an online master’s degree in higher education. Other premieres this year include a bachelor’s degree in international politics, one in organization improvement, and no fewer than three online administration programs.
Go Penn State
If the above alone doesn’t convince you, then perhaps you need a bit more background info on Penn State and its reputation. The school, founded in 1855, has the largest network of alumni in the U.S.. Its adult learners hail from all 50 American states, over 40 countries worldwide, and all seven continents. The network counts more than 616,000 alumni, of which 172,000 are dues-paying members. They must be getting something out of it, right?
And if you’re worried that you’ll be going it all on your own, by signing up for an online program at Penn State, the institution is quick to reassure you that you’ll be benefitting from a ton of assistance. They run orientation courses for new students, have career counseling services, and even run an online help desk.
Finally, if the physical degree per se concerns you, then you should probably know it’s no different than any other degree earned at Penn State. It doesn’t say you’ve graduated online – because it doesn’t make any difference anyway. All the courses that the school offers via the Internet are fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and a lot of the individual programs they offer are accredited by the governing bodies in their respective fields. There are over 100 such degree and certificate programs on offer at Penn State – and they seem to be efficient, too. According to a recent Wall Street Journal survey, the school ranks the best prepared graduates for professional careers.