By staff writer

June 2019

2 min. read

Credit: Neumann University

Over the last several decades, online education has been growing, not only at for-profit universities, where it once thrived, but at public academic institutions as well. An average of one- third of students in the United States are taking at least one online course. Invest: Philadelphia met with several leaders of local higher-education institutions to understand which online programs are attracting the most attention in the area.

A recent report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) showed that approximately 49% of the 1.3 million students enrolled at private for-profit institutions were enrolled exclusively in distance education courses in fall 2017. On the other hand, 19% of the 4.1 million students at private nonprofit institutions and 11% of the 14.7 million students at public institutions were enrolled in distance courses.

Health sciences and data and cyber analytics are some of the online courses that are experiencing growth in the Philadelphia area.  

“We started an online program for doctors in pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing, and last year we received the endorsement of the American Osteopathic Association,” Joseph DiAngelo, dean of Erivan K. Haub School of Business, Saint Joseph’s University, told Invest:.

Similarly, Arcadia University is expanding its online courses in the health sciences area.

“At Arcadia, we have a big focus on health sciences innovation, with nationally-ranked programs in our physical therapy and physician’s assistant degrees. Both of these degrees will see investments in a hybrid online version of the programs, which will make us one of the very few institutions in the world delivering those programs through an online platform,” Ajay Nair, President of Arcadia University told Invest:.

A survey entitled Grade Change: Tracking Online Education in the United States showed that the percent of academic leaders who rated the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face instruction grew from 57% in 2003 to 74% in 2013. In addition, most survey respondents agree that students require more responsibility and discipline to take online courses, and the abandonment of the courses remains one of the challenges of online education.

Jefferson University recently announced the country’s first ever graduate-level certification for blockchain for healthcare. The online course is focused on exploring the fundamentals of blockchain and related technologies that can be leveraged to improve healthcare and empower patients. Upon completion of this program, students will be able to advance in their careers as Business Analysts, Technology Engineers, Hospital Administrators, Data Analysts and more.

Neumann University also is moving to a significant online education offering, as Chris Domes, president at Neumann University, told Invest:. “In the last few years, we ramped up our online programming and we just invested in an instructional designer who will help the faculty to enhance online learning for our students. We are moving all our graduate programs to become either fully online or blended,” he said.  

The 2019 Online Education Trends Report from BestColleges showed that school administrators’ predictions about which programs will grow have remained fairly steady for the past two years. They are seeing opportunities for programs in healthcare, business, and computer science.

For more information about our interviewees visit:

Erivan K. Haub School of Business, Saint Joseph’s University: https://www.sju.edu/academics/haub-school-business

Arcadia University: https://www.arcadia.edu/

Neumann University: https://www.neumann.edu/

Jefferson University: https://www.jefferson.edu/