the Daily News

August 5, 2001

Finding the Right Courses Online

It's the Internet generation. We've become a society that banks, shops, chats, and even learns online. With the demand to know more and travel less, the availability of online programs and sites that promote lifelong learning are popping up all over the place. While such educational advancements usually couple convenience with courses, aspiring students often find it difficult to find the right program for themselves. Then, once they do pinpoint a program, it's usually done so without comparing all of the available options.

So what's needed?
According to the founders of ClassesUSA, Inc., what adult learners need to succeed in their educational pursuits is easy access to the classes available to them. The company's Web site,, allows adults to search for classes and programs by keyword and location, and then register instantly online once they make their selection. "Up until now, adult learners have had to research their continuing education endeavors in a time-consuming, inefficient way," comments ClassesUSA, Inc. chairman Luciano Rammairone.

Teachers are still looking out for you.
The opportunity to make an educated, discerning decision about the best program for an individual learner is essential as well. In fact, say representatives of the America Federation of Teachers, which is calling for clear standards for online course providers, ensuring that a program is accredited and will deliver quality education is particularly important, specifically in regard to distance learning. "The goal is to provide high-quality education to all," says Bill Scheuerman, vice president of the American Federation of Teachers and president of the United University Professions at SUNY.

Research is the key.
"Students considering online learning must do really good research," says Blair Stobaugh, vice president of new business development for Bisk Education/University Alliance, an e-learning provider, with over 24,000 students. The University Alliance works with regionally accredited and nationally recognized colleges and universities to provide accredited bachelor's and master's degree programs online.

With U.S. Department of Education statistics indicating that 46 percent of the adult population participated in adult education in 1999 -- both via distance learning and brick & mortar courses -- such increased efforts to empower adult learners with research opportunities is a step in the right direction. The fast-growing continuing education industry can now utilize resources such as to locate, compare, and register for the courses best suited to their educational endeavors.

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