NSU listed as one of the best places in the nation to pursue an online degree in 2022
Northeastern State University has one of the best online colleges in the United States, according to the college guidance website Abound.
NSU was recently listed on the website’s 100 Best Online Colleges 2022 list. NSU was one of two public universities in Oklahoma that made this year’s ranking.
“It doesn’t surprise me really,” Executive Director for NSU Online and the Center for Teaching and Learning Jerol Skinner said. “This is a direct result of the NSU community coming together to meet the students where they are.”
Skinner said NSU is committed to expanding its online course offerings to better meet students’ needs. Remote course offerings are tailored to fit students’ schedules while supplying the same high-quality, accredited education as those opting for in-person instruction.
Skinner said college-level courses are already challenging on their own. He said if students choose NSU as their institution of choice for their online education, officials want to ensure that the delivery method is not an unintended barrier to them succeeding in getting their degree.
Expanding online course offerings is not without support. Skinner said NSU has been working to improve online support services as well for students.
Skinner said not everyone has the same level of confidence when it comes to learning in an online format that is why having a robust support system in place is important for student success.
In addition to being available to provide students online support, Skinner said NSU Online also provides students tools and guides to further aid studying online. For example, Skinner worked with a team within the Online Consortium of Oklahoma, which NSU is a member of, to create the Learner Readiness Tool.
“The learner readiness tool really just provides tips on what it takes to be a proficient online student,” he said.
According to Skinner, students can use the tool to self-assess if an online learning environment is the best fit for them while being provided resources on how to excel in an online environment if they enroll with NSU.
Skinner said the institution is also working on developing guides and resources students can access to help them navigate and familiarize themselves with the NSU online environment.
Skinner said NSU is also working with faculty to expand professional development opportunities so they have the tools and skills needed to provide the best instruction online. This includes industry best practices such as training in web accessibility standards and helpful tools meant to aid online instruction.
Expanding online offerings is also a matter of access and not just convenience, Skinner said. Prioritizing online learning to meet student demand opens up the opportunity for non-traditional college students such as working adults to complete their post-secondary education.
NSU continues to invest in upgrading its technology infrastructure to better the online experience for students. This includes recent and planned upgrades to the wireless infrastructure such as replacing existing access points on all three campuses to improve internet connectivity. The institution is also working to upgrade classrooms to be more compatible with virtual learning technologies.
Funding for these upgrades were accelerated in the wake of the pandemic and made possible with the assistance of Higher Education Emergency Relief Funding authorized by the federal government to support higher education institutions’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the wake of the pandemic and its effect on in-person learning, online colleges have seen an explosion in popularity. This continues a decade-long movement of students to this flexible learning option,” Abound noted on the importance of their online colleges list.
“But as convenient and welcome as this new learning avenue is, there are lots of low-quality online programs. It is important that students find reputable, affordable, and flexible programs that help students advance in their careers. The following online colleges are not only accredited, but they have also undergone additional, thorough vetting for a supportive student experience.”
To learn more about the various online programs available at NSU visit nsuok.edu/online.