Despite its tiny size, Rhode Island houses several institutions of higher learning, some of which are venturing into the world of distance education via online technology. Three schools in particular offer bachelor’s degree programs online for military students, adults, and continuing education students both in the state and far from campus. Read on to see what are some of the options for online college courses in the state of Rhode Island:

Roger Williams University

  • Number of Online Bachelor’s Degrees: 13
  • Fields Offered: Social Work and Sciences, Humanities, Technology, Law, Healthcare, Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Accreditor: New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

Roger Williams University’s School of Continuing Studies offers 13 bachelor’s degree completion programs for adult and continuing education students through its “Triflex” schedule, which allows undergrads to choose instruction that is face-to-face, hybrid, or entirely online. Some of the programs may also be taken as an accelerated program, reducing the term length from 16 weeks to eight for added flexibility. Majors include criminal justice, healthcare administration, industrial technology, and technology leadership and management. Psychology, theater, and paralegal studies majors may require some day courses.

The university has a five-decade legacy of high-quality distance education. Currently more than 1,000 students are enrolled in RWU’s online programs, with another 800 students taking individual online courses around the globe. Library services, a dedicated support staff, and a team of advisors assist students in their studies, more than half of whom are military students, as the school is well-known for being military-friendly. RWU Online uses the Bridges Learning Management system as its virtual classroom platform and provides an online knowledge base and forum for help and troubleshooting.

New England Institute of Technology

  • Number of Online Bachelor’s Degrees: 1
  • Fields Offered: Nursing
  • Accreditor: New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

This private not-for-profit institution is located in Warwick and serves approximately 3,000 students. The school offers an online RN to BSN program for area residents. This is ideal for professionals in the field interested in earning their degree while still working fulltime. They can access the virtual classroom 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to their own needs.

Despite the lack of face-to-face interaction, instructors are still highly accessible. Students can ask questions via email, chat, or telephone. In terms of completing assignments, most work will be submitted through the virtual learning platform. In other cases, supervised clinical practice work, arranged in the student’s area, may be required. Virtual meeting, video, and chat technology may also help to facilitate communication among students, their peers, and professors.

Johnson & Wales University

  • Number of Online Bachelor’s Degrees: 2
  • Fields Offered: Food Service
  • Accreditor: New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC)

Prospective students looking for accredited online bachelors degree programs in Rhode Island may also want to look into Johnson & Wales University. This private institution is located in Providence and has an enrollment of more than 17,000 students across its campuses. Online programs are available in food service management, with specializations in baking and pastry arts or culinary arts. These programs are ideal for those looking to jumpstart a new career while still maintaining their current work schedule.

Online students can access the virtual classroom at whatever times and from whatever location is most convenient for them. The majority of assignments will be submitted through the online learning platform. However, some assignments may require the use of video chat, virtual meeting technology, and other media to enhance or facilitate the learning process. Professors can be contacted via email, chat, telephone, or in person should students need additional assistance.

Higher Education in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is the smallest state in the U.S. in terms of land area. With just more than 1 million residents, the state ranks 43rd in the nation by population. Prospective students in this area still have a number of higher education options. Two of the most renowned schools in the state are Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design. State-run options include the University of Rhode Island and several community and technical colleges.

Six four-year institutions in Rhode Island also offer the opportunity to take online courses. These include Johnson & Wales University, New England Institute of Technology, the University of Rhode Island, and Brown University, which is a partner school of Coursera. This online learning initiative, known as a MOOC (massive open online course) provider, allows any interested members of the general public to take free virtual courses from leading scholars at some of the nation’s top schools.


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