The Commonwealth of Virginia has been known for years for its beautiful college campuses, but in the 21st century it is also becoming a leader in a new environment: online education. Opportunities for convenient online bachelor’s degrees or other degrees can easily be found in the state, as colleges and universities across Virginia are beginning to place more emphasis on online learning. For example, students can earn online bachelor degrees from the following universities:

Old Dominion University

  • Number of Online Bachelor’s Degrees: 13
  • Fields Offered: Communication, Engineering, Criminal Justice, Healthcare, Social Sciences, Technology
  • Accreditor: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Students interested in earning their bachelors degree online in Virginia have a number of options at Old Dominion University. The school is one of the nation’s largest providers of distance learning courses, and its TELETECHNET distance learning program accounts for nearly one-third of all student enrollment at the university. ODU’s distance learning program offers 60 undergraduate and graduate programs, including 13 bachelor’s degree programs that are strictly online. ODU’s distance classes are currently offered at 46 postsecondary institutions throughout Virginia.

The TELETECHNET program offers video streaming and web conferencing to facilitate lectures and classroom discussion. Although students have the option to interact in real time with live lecture broadcasts, courses generally do not require synchronous interaction. Students who wish to participate in two-way conferencing will need the necessary equipment and high-speed Internet connectivity. Students can also participate in classroom discussions via online forums and email. To better serve students who live outside of Virginia, ODU has extended the TELETECHNET learning network to sites in Arizona and Washington State. These courses are also available on U.S. Navy ships deployed around the world.

Liberty University

  • Number of Online Bachelor’s Degrees: 13
  • Fields Offered: Business, Education, Criminal Justice, Aeronautics, Interdisciplinary Studies, Social Sciences, Religion, Law, Information Technology, Healthcare
  • Accreditor: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC)

Another leader in online bachelors degree programs in Virginia is Liberty University. Based in Lynchburg, the university offers more than a dozen online bachelor’s degree programs, like accounting, early childhood education, business management information systems, and more. There are also options for areas of specialization or minor degrees, allowing students to fine-tune their education to specific interests and career paths.

Online classes at Liberty University have been designed to require no login times during the week, which grants students even more flexibility to meet academic deadlines. The classes are facilitated through Blackboard classroom management software. To accommodate lifelong learners and other students who may struggle with the technological demands of online learning, Liberty University offers introductory courses to better prepare students for navigation of the virtual classroom. Depending on the degree program, students may find that the program length can be expedited through intensive courses or experience-to-credit transfers.

Regent University

  • Number of Online Bachelor’s Degrees: 11
  • Fields Offered: Business, Communication, Criminal Justice, Liberal Arts, Information Technology, Social Sciences, Religion
  • Accreditor: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Currently, there are nearly 2,000 students enrolled in online bachelor’s degree programs at Regent University, with a teacher-to-student ratio of 17:1. The most popular majors pursued by these students are psychology and general studies. Regent’s online degree programs use the same high-quality curricula as its on-campus programs, which are held in Virginia Beach. Online students also follow a regular semester schedule of assignments and exams. Although many of the classes are asynchronous, professors may set weekly assignment deadlines to maintain the structure of a traditional classroom setting. Students collaborate with peers and professors through the Blackboard classroom management system.

This flexibility, as well as Regent’s tuition policy, might appeal to busy professionals and military personnel who travel frequently. Regent’s Online University does not charge out-of-state tuition fees, and international students may enroll for the same cost as residents. Regent University also offers discounted courses for high school students through its Early College Program.

Higher Education in Virginia

With more than 100 postsecondary schools, the state of Virginia provides an array of learning opportunities for ambitious students. During the 2010-2011 school year, more than 450,000 students enrolled in Virginia’s institutions of higher education. In addition to 15 public comprehensive institutions, Virginia is home to 50 private, accredited four-year institutions and 23 public community colleges. Many of these institutions offer some form of distance learning, and interested students can choose from many online bachelor degree programs in Virginia. In addition, online education has become so prevalent in the state’s higher education system that legislators in Virginia recently passed a mandate requiring that high school students complete at least one online class to graduate.

One of the highest ranked public universities in the nation is found in Virginia. The University of Virginia has never fallen below the No. 2 position in the U.S. News & World Report‘s rankings of public universities, according to the school’s website, and when ranked among all national universities, the university has remained within the top 25 schools. Although it does not currently offer complete degree programs online, the University of Virginia offers a number of online courses through its UVa-Wise program, allowing students of all ages and backgrounds to launch their paths to higher education. The university also has a partnership with Coursera, a massive open online courseware (MOOC) provider that offers hundreds of free online courses from some of the best schools in the nation.

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