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Continuing education online: this ain’t just basket weaving

January 25, 2012 by Bob Prout |

basket weavingFirst, let’s deal with the elephant in the room: yes, you CAN learn basket weaving online. But there’s more to continuing education online than learning arts and crafts. A whole lot more.

Ask 100 people what they think continuing education is and you’ll probably get 100 different answers. The definition on wisegeek.com covers just about every possibility, but for our purposes, their first line says it nicely: “Continuing Education refers to any type of post-secondary education...”

For many people, continuing education has come to mean degree completion, and online is becoming their medium of choice. Our own university as well as our sister schools of the University of North Carolina system are busy expanding online undergraduate degree completion programs, as well as offering a wide variety of online master’s degree and certificate programs. This is continuing ed for credit. And as technology improves we’ll see more of these degree options available via smartphones and tablets.

But a lot of continuing ed, that’s also beyond arts and crafts, is becoming separated from that for credit limitation. Apple, for example, is forging ahead in the academic realm with their iTunes U, which offers courses from prestigious universities like Stanford, Duke and Yale completely free. Now you can learn something scholarly just for the sake of learning it.

In the information age, continuing education has indeed outgrown our former notions of either “adult” education or “personal enrichment.”

Here are some sites that will give you a taste of all that’s out there:

Is there something out there that you’d love learning just for the sake of learning it?

Photo Credit: KirrilyRobert

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