UF to offer online degree programs

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On Monday, Governor Rick Scott signed an education bill that will let the University of Florida offer bachelor’s degrees entirely online.

Still, some wonder how online education compares to the typical college experience.

The Career and Professional Education Act provides UF with $10 million to set up an online learning institute by next January.

UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes says a handful of degrees the university already offers will be available online, including criminology and law, health affairs, sports management, environmental management and business.

“The standards for a student to enroll in the University of Florida will remain the same,” Sikes said.

In terms of cost, an online degree from UF will be less expensive than the traditional approach of taking classes on campus.

Online classes will cost 75 percent of current tuition costs, Sikes said.

Some currently enrolled students expressed concerns because of their experiences with online classes.

“For me, I can’t concentrate as well,” said Matthew Clonts, a UF sophomore. “I can’t focus as well knowing that it’s just online and not in a classroom.”

Kathleen Lew, a UF sophomore, is concerned about the social aspect of online degrees.

“I think it would be beneficial, but I don’t think you would gain as much as you would get here because you lack communication skills and the social skills you need everyday in the workforce,” she said.

The university says the goal of the program is to give more students in Florida the chance to earn a bachelor’s degree. UF plans to add more degrees to the online list after the program begins in January.

Cassandra Ganter wrote this story online.

About Christina DeVarona

Christina is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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