Distance Learning

Louisiana Reports Substantial Growth in Online Degree Enrollments

The Louisiana Community & Technical College System has reported enrollment success in an initiative to help working students statewide earn college degrees online. Launched in January 2009, LCTCSOnline enrollments have jumped 43 percent from the spring 2009 to spring 2010 semesters, to 424 current enrollments. Total enrollment system-wide--nearly 70,000 students--grew by an average of 16 percent over that same period.

The courses are taught using a combination of instructional technologies that vary for each course and include video tutorials, PowerPoint presentations, discussion groups, and other interactive learning activities. Students are also provided online library resources, online tutoring, and 24-hour-a-day technical support, as well as the ability to take courses on their smart phones.

The program is run on Pearson's Learning Studio (formerly eCollege), a course management system. After launch LCTCSOnline made the decision to move to customized eBooks, also a Pearson initiative, which the college system estimates saved students an average of 31 percent on the current semester's materials.

"Our relationship with Pearson has been critical to the success of LCTCSOnline thus far, especially concerning our new eBooks arrangement," said Robert Johnson, executive director of LCTCSOnline. "Pearson actually developed the bookstore and site and delivers the content to students immediately so they no longer have to wait for textbooks to arrive in the mail. Everything is electronic. If a student wants a paper copy, they can print pages, but for the most part, it's a very green-friendly solution."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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