Loyola’s online programs shine in latest rankings
Loyola University Chicago’s online bachelor’s degree programs are among the best in the country, according to the latest rankings from U.S. News & World Report.
Released in early January, the 2017 Best Online Programs list places Loyola at No. 21 in the nation for bachelor’s degrees, tied with two other universities. Loyola is one of only two Illinois universities to crack the Top 50 in the rankings, which include more than 300 public and private colleges.
Loyola began offering one online bachelor’s program in fall 2011, with 26 students enrolled. Today, more than 360 students are enrolled throughout six online bachelor’s degree programs: the RN-to-BSN; applied studies; applied psychology; criminal justice; information technology; and management.
Sarah Dysart, director of online learning at Loyola, said the University’s program has grown quickly because it meets the demands of today’s students.
“Across the country, more and more students are seeking out the flexibility of online courses,” Dysart said. “A lot of times they are in a situation where they can’t do the traditional four years on a college campus, and online courses give them the chance to get their degree while still living their lives.”
The U.S. News & World Report rankings were based on four general categories: student engagement; faculty credentials; services and technology; and peer reputation. Loyola scored especially well in the first two categories, Dysart said.
“The programs all have a strong emphasis on allowing students to engage with each other and with the faculty member who is teaching them,” she said. “We have several different technologies, from discussion boards to video conferencing software, to make our online programs as engaging as possible.”
Faculty members at the University receive training to help them teach online, Dysart said. The instructors also have excellent credentials, and most of them have terminal degrees in their field. “They truly are experts in what they teach,” she said.
And Loyola also has made it a point to give its online students the same services that on-campus students receive, Dysart said. That means online learners can access the Writing Center or the Career Development Center, for instance, to help them find a job after completing their degree.
Dysart believes the recent growth in online learning at Loyola is only going to continue as more people embrace the idea and see how well it works.
“Studies show that online learning can be just as effective—if not more effective—than face-to-face environments,” she said.
To learn more, visit Loyola’s online learning website.