University of West Florida was recognized for having the best online courses in the first edition of the 2012 U.S. World and News Report Top Online Education Program rankings.
The ranking system was compiled using ratings from faculty credentials and training surveys, student engagement and assessment inquiries, and student services and technology rankings. All universities in the rankings had at least 80 percent of their course content available on the web.
UWF defeated the corporately owned University of Phoenix, which saw a 30 percent decrease in enrollment in 2011. With 28 percent of UWF students taking courses exclusively online and 25 percent of the student body taking classes online in addition to their other courses, it’s apparent that private institutions have begun to overtake exclusively online colleges in the quality of their digital course offerings. UWF’s program offers 461 fully online course sections that span eight undergraduate programs 10 graduate programs and 10 certificate programs.
The flexibility of online courses is intriguing to students who work one or multiple jobs to pay off loans, have families to support and can commit to small blocks of time to earn a degree rather than longer semesters. Students enrolled in online courses through their university can graduate early or on time without loading up on credits each semester.
Rankings that determine the highest quality of online learning will be crucial as participation in classes on the Web has grown exponentially. According to data released by Ambient Insight, the number of post-secondary students who take some or all of their classes online will increase from the current 12 million to 22 million. The projections indicate that, in the next two years, there will be 5.14 million students who take all of their courses in a physical classroom as opposed to the 3.55 million who are enrolled in strictly online classes.