Autumn, Rosemary, Renee, Mary, Edgar, and Ellen are among an intriguing group of 100,000 Minnesotans. One’s not yet 18, another is in her 30’s and another is in his 50’s. They come from everywhere, Anoka to Minneapolis to Zimmerman, suburbs, small towns, farms and cities. There are taking on-line courses this year from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. Here are a few of them, followed by information about how you could join them.
Rose Youngmark (pictured here, courtesy of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System) has taken ten on-line courses at Minneapolis Technical College and North Hennepin Community College. MnSCU says she was the 100,000th person to take an on-line course this year. Why did she take these online classes? She responded, “I want to be a teacher (before I’m 80) and can’t afford all the daycare I would need to complete my classes in a timely fashion.”
Her advice to others about online classes?“ To anyone considering online courses I would say, ‘go for it, it’s great.’ If you have enough discipline to take the proper amount of time to get the work done, online courses can help you to get further in your schooling than might otherwise be possible.”
Autumn Sisson, a 17 year old from Anoka, took an online Post-Secondary Options course called “Unifying Concepts in Biology” from Anoka-Ramsey Community College. She liked the way it freed her “from a set classroom time.” She also felt one result of the class was “planning my time better.”
Her advice to other high school students considering an on-line class was: “The workload does not vary between on-line and a classroom. The classroom helps you plan time for homework with deadlines. Although there are deadlines in an on-line class to help you stay on task, it is your responsibility to check in on deadlines, tests, and reading assignments. Consequently, procrastinators will end up having a much heavier load than usual if work is done minutes before it is submitted. Personally, I take my time on tests/quizzes and with an on-line class having timed tests (which, I know, is necessary) I felt rushed. However, throughout the class I learned to work around this by planning my time better.”
Mary Klause of Apple Valley says the best part of her 3 online courses taken from Inver Hills Community College has been “The freedom. With a little organization, on-line classes can accommodate any schedule.” However, she points out, “There is a tremendous amount of freedom in on-line classes but it can also be very stressful if you’re not organized..”
Ellen Behrhorst of Burnsville graduated from Dakota Community Technical College last May, and is now a full time student at St. Mary’s University. She has compared on-line and in-person courses. “If you’re a working adult who is trying to juggle home and work life, and have thought about going back to school…then taking on-line courses is the way to go. It’s convenient and if you enjoy having the freedom to get what you need to get done on your time, then on-line course would be a perfect fit.”
Edgar Samuelson, from Farmington, is 54 and has returned to school to obtain a Bachelors Degree. He’s taken several on-line courses at Inver Hills Community College. Samuelson also likes the convenience and gas savings of on-line courses.
He was “ a student mentor for several on-line classes and for the most part the students seem to enjoy the latitude that comes with online courses. But if you need cajoling to complete your assignments this type of class is not for you. These are college level classes that require college level writing skills.”
On-line courses include tradeoffs. Renee Ursprung took three on-line courses from Anoka-Ramsey in Cambridge. She liked working “at your own pace,” but “I missed meeting new people face to face versus talking to them only on line.”
Melinda Voss of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities reports that the system provides more than 10,000 online courses, making it “the largest public provider of on-line courses in Minnesota.” To learn more, go to (www.minnesotaonline.org),