Thousands of students take online classes at Volunteer State Community College each semester. However, many people may not realize they can earn an entire degree without ever setting foot on campus. That’s an attractive option for adults. Online classes provide flexibility for students juggling family, work and their education.
“I’m a single parent holding down a job,” said Delovely Nunley of Lebanon. “I need college to fit into my schedule.”
Online students have assignments and deadlines, but they can do that work whenever and wherever they want, for the most part. Parents often do reading and assignments after the kids are put to bed or on a break at work.
Online classes are every bit as challenging as traditional classes, with the benefit that students are encouraged to utilize the Internet to go further with their thinking. “It made me think out of the box. It made me challenge myself. It made me go deeper, kind of like investigating each subject,” said Nunley.
Online courses are not for everyone. Students need regular access to high speed Internet. While that may seem to limit people, some students set aside time to work at their public library each week to submit work and take exams. Research and general work can often be accomplished with slower Internet speeds. The most important factor is the student themselves.
“The students who do well with online classes are self-motivated, organized and good time managers,” said Rhonda Gregory, director of Distributed Education for Vol State. “To support students we have online tutoring, online advising and online library services.”
Students may worry that they will be isolated taking an online class. But that isn’t necessarily the case. “Good students are constantly communicating with the professor and other students in each course. It’s highly interactive,” Gregory said.
Vol State has more than 25 online degree and certificate programs available, many of which can also transfer to a university for an online bachelor’s degree program. Subjects at Vol State range from teaching and sociology to math and science. University Studies is the most popular degree at the college. It is designed specifically for transfer to a university. Several programs at Vol State have been online for several years, including Fire Science. For a complete list of online programs visit www.volstate.edu/online.
Adult students have many exciting opportunities coming. TN Reconnect is a state scholarship program that will provide tuition-free community college education for most adults in Tennessee. It starts in the fall of 2018. Students may be eligible for other types of Financial Aid now, if they want to start classes this coming school year. The first step is to apply to the college. That can be done online at www.volstate.edu/apply. The fall semester at Vol State starts on August 28.
Pictured: Delovely Nunley graduated from Vol State last May. She is continuing work on her bachelor’s degree at MTSU this fall.