Ferris connects with online courses

An increasing number of students are deciding to take classes online this fall


With a record-breaking amount of students attending Ferris this fall, an increasing number of students are making the decision to take courses online.

According to a university-wide notice, 622 Ferris students are currently enlisted in online programs on the Big Rapids campus. This is a 65 percent increase from the 377 students attending online classes the previous year.

The amount of students enrolled fully online this semester through Ferris’ various campuses reportedly has increased by approximately 17 percent.

Medical technology senior David Ward said taking classes online helps reduce the living expenses most students must pay while living on

“Online classes can be very helpful when you’re taking many credits and have trouble attending multiple lectures,” said Ward.

Ward is currently enrolled in two online courses this semester, one of which requires Tegrity.

Tegrity is class recording software affiliated with Ferris connect. Through the software, Ferris instructors may record

their lectures and publish them to Tegrity’s streaming server. This allows students to access the recordings directly through Ferris connect.

Ferris State University Associate Provost Roberta Teahen said she sees online instructing as a more structured approach to learning.

“Tegrity is becoming more widely used, which enables faculty members to capture their lectures as well as the media in use at the time,” said Teahen. “I know others also use podcasts and a variety of external sites for supporting their content areas.”

Electrical engineering technology major Peter Diep said he understands why so many students are choosing to take online courses.

“Some students feel more comfortable taking courses from home,” said Diep. “Also, if you miss any parts of the lecture, you can find the information online.”

According to research composed by Ambient Insight Chief Research Officer Sam Adkins, 1.25 million students in higher education programs took all their courses online in 2009. Adkins proposed that by 2014, 3.55 million students will take all their classes fully online.

Teahen said the increase in online enrollment can be attributed to the large amount of Ferris students with part-time jobs and other commitments.

“Online learning has enabled a broader spectrum of students to participate in higher education,” said Teahen. “Many of our students are in remote areas where higher education is not accessible.”

Teahen believes the increasing number of students taking online courses will continue in the years ahead.

“Over time, I believe we will see expanded use of a wide variety of tools that make the online experience very dynamic,” said Teahen. “I absolutely believe it will continue to grow and improve both at Ferris and throughout higher
education.” n