Online College Classes

Online learning grows in popularity

Online College Classes


Online College Classes

You’ve seen the commercials; “My name is John and I am a Phoenix.”

The University of Phoenix has taken the world of higher learning by storm. But if you’re looking to visit the campus, go no further than the comfort of your own home. Sure, they have locations across the United States, but their niche? Earn your degree online.

Taking courses online has advantages:

  • You can work at your own pace.

  • You don’t have to brave extreme weather.

  • You don’t have to worry about getting to class on time.

  • You can work in your pajamas.

And best of all? Online learning can be quite affordable. But is it really as good as it sounds?

Why Online College Classes Work

“I loved taking courses online,” says Peter Colombo, a graduate of the University of Phoenix. “For me, it was all about the quality of university learning from the comfort of your own home through an accredited institution.” Colombo earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in business technologies. Today he is a chief information security officer for an IT company in Rochester, New York.

Education trends

Just like Colombo, more and more people are taking online college classes. From single classes to certification programs and complete college degrees delivered via the internet, education is being transformed thanks to the technology of today.

In fact, online college classes seem to be the way of the future. And it’s not just because textbooks are being transferred to web pages.  “Students are looking for more, and we are giving it to them,” says David Mammano, CEO and founder of NextStepU ( and Next Step Academy ( “We wanted to fuse gaming with learning to make our courses interactive and fun.”

Online College Classes-The new way to learn

Next Step Academy is an online school for life skills. Courses include everything from financial literacy and entrepreneurship to distracted driving, bullying and fitness. High schools across America are implementing the program as a way to offer quality, supplemental courses during a time when money is tight and budgets are being cut.

“Our schools are being forced to scale back and ultimately that means students have to go without many electives they used to enjoy,” says Mammano. “Our goal with Next Step Academy is to minimize those cuts and bring the fun (and the learning) back to our schools in a cost-effective and innovative way.”

Local businesses, colleges and universities and even individuals are encouraged to sponsor high schools, student bodies or entire school districts as a way to bring these important life skills courses to students in areas of their choice. But students can also sign up for Next Step Academy on an individual basis (for a minimal annual fee) to access the complete suite of courses, earn digital badges and more.

Is online learning for you?

If taking online college classes sounds exciting, you may want to consider giving it a try. Keep in mind that it takes a lot of discipline to work at your own pace. The responsibility far surpasses that of the traditional classroom in that you will have to be committed, organized and a strong-problem solver on your own.

“It can be challenging, but it’s more than worth it in the end,” says Colombo.

Whether you are looking to expand your skill set when it comes to life, or hoping to earn your bachelor’s degree, online learning is a great way to further your education in the comfort of your own home.

Katie Barry is the editor of NextStepU Magazine.


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