“How do you feel about the emergence of nontraditional education like online and hybrid programs? How do African Americans fare in these programs?” –Dacia Genise Cobb
I think the growth of online or “distance” learning is a very positive development and comes at an important time. A college education is more important than ever. The fastest-growing and best-paying jobs and careers increasingly require at least a two-year degree and often a full four-year degree. If you are a nontraditional learner — maybe you need to hold down a job while you’re pursuing a degree — online education might be just the ticket. (In fact, I am a member of the board of directors of an online school, Capella University.)
There are more and more nontraditional learners, and an increasing percentage of them are African American. Students ages 25 and older make up 33.5 percent of all undergraduates, but 83 percent of undergraduates in this age group are enrolled at exclusively online institutions. Among these online students, African Americans are well-represented. Black students account for 14 percent of all undergraduates but 20 percent of undergrads enrolled at exclusively online institutions.