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Published February 03, 2012, 06:24 PM

Online Education Skyrockets at UND

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - The University of North Dakota online education has skyrocketed. Now more than 25 percent of UND students are enrolled in online courses.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - The University of North Dakota online education has skyrocketed. Now more than 25 percent of UND students are enrolled in online courses.

Dalene Erickson has small children and two jobs so on-campus courses aren't really an option, not to mention she lives in Maryland.

But UND's online program made her experience so unique that she feels as if she's sitting next to 50 other students.

Dalene says she feels more "connected" to 4,000 students by computer than she did as an undergrad living on campus surrounded by 50,000 kids.

"It's exactly like a regular classroom, I have found friends whom I really like...so I've found the sense of community just like I would in a regular classroom," said UND online student, Dalene Erickson.

"Virtual environment is something that a lot of the students have really connected with," said UND Spokesman, Peter Johnson.

But when professors learned they were going cyber, they were worried at first.

"A lot of stories of faculty members who are surprised at the ability to continue to connect with students and the educational opportunities that provides," said Johnson.

There are many advantages to being an on-campus student, like group study sessions and face to face communication. But online courses can be just as helpful because professors make themselves available all hours of the day.

"Not just meeting 3 times a week, monday, wednesday, friday, for 50 minutes but you have the opportunity to really interact 24/7," said Johnson.

And its not just by chat room or online discussions either.

"All of the professors I've met have gone the extra mile," said Erickson.

Professors take time out of their day to help students many miles away.

"Emailed him the file, he took it got it printed on the poster board for me and then it was there waiting for me," said Erickson.

The only disadvantage may be missing out on hockey games at the Ralph, but Dalene says she plans on making a game or two before she finishes her degree.

The university is ranked nationally for the degrees it provides to online students.

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