Taking online courses

Autumn, Renee, Rosemary, Pam, Edgar and Ellen are among an intriguing group of 100,000 Minnesotans. They range in age from 17 to more than 50. They come from everywhere, Anoka to Zimmerman, suburbs, small towns, farms and cities. They are or have taken online courses from the Minnesota State College and Universities System. Here are a few of them, followed by information about how you could join them.

Autumn Sission, 17 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.”

Online larning has tradeoffs. Renee Ursprung, who lives in Zimmerman, took three online 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 online.”

Pam Ritchie from Farmington has taken six online courses from Dakota County Technical College. She has studied computers, accounting, environmental science and spreadsheets. She likes “the convenience of working from home. The freedom to work at my own pace- night or day. . . Online classes are a great time saver and use less gas.”

Edgar Samuelson, also from Farmington, is 54 and has returned to school to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. He’s taken several online courses at Inver Hills Community College. Samuelson also likes the convenience and gas savings of online courses.

He was “a student mentor fro several online classes and for the most part the students seem to enjoy the latitute 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.”

Ellen Behrhorst of Burnsville graduated from Dakota Community Technical College lasy May, and is now a full time student at St. Mary’s University. She has compared online 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 online 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, the online courses would be a perfect fit.”

Rose Youngmakr has taken ten online courses at Minneapolis Technical College and North Hennepin Community College. MnSCU says she was the 100,000th person to tak an online course this year. She wrote: “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.”

Melinda Voss of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities reports that the system provides more than 10,000 online courses making it Minnesota’s “largest public provider of online courses.” To learn more, go to minnesotaonline.org.