Deptford Twp. – In a busy world structured by work, childcare and life's everyday demands, having the flexibility to pursue a college degree online—or to simply take an online course or two—is invaluable. With more than 115 unique online courses, nine fully-online degree programs, and certificate of achievement eLearning classes, Rowan College of South Jersey (RCSJ) offers students a convenient solution for blending academic goals with active schedules.
For many, RCSJ's online courses offer a favorable alternative to attending class in person. Whether taking online classes as a way to fulfill employment responsibilities or during the summer to get a head start on studies, many college and high school students appreciate the chance to enjoy summer vacation and still earn credits. Working professionals also value RCSJ's many online options, taking courses year round while pursuing academic credentials at their own pace. Online career-enhancing courses personalize education—accommodating lifestyles, budgets and aspirations.
“The flexibility of online courses is the key benefit that makes them so popular for our students," said Beth Beecroft, assistant dean of eLearning at RCSJ's Gloucester campus. “For students with responsibilities and commitments that might prevent them from getting to our campus, like full-time work or parenting, online courses offer the opportunity for them to attend class from the location and at the time that works best for them."
Going to college online does come with some attractive benefits. In addition to flexible scheduling options, online courses require no dress code, include a more relaxed learning environment and no commute to class. Students spend less time and money traveling, providing more occasions to study on the couch focused on coursework. Students also learn to develop time management and computer skills.
“Today, more than ever, employers seek professionals who are tech-savvy, can multi-task while still meeting deadlines, and have experience constructing their own learning. Online learning delivers all these skills and more to our students, while still providing a supportive environment within which to deeply learn," said Judy Cirucci, senior instructional designer of Distance Learning and Instructional Technology at RCSJ's Cumberland campus. “We're careful to offer plenty of self-help resources to our students as well as in-person, online, or telephone support whenever they need it."
Having the choice to pursue an associate degree totally online supports the needs of many students, particularly working professionals. Earning a degree becomes less stressful for individuals working full time when curriculum instruction and classwork can be completed on a personal time schedule. RCSJ currently offers nine degree programs that can be completed fully online: Business Administration, Digital Marketing, Arts and Sciences, Arts and Sciences Communications Option, Arts and Sciences History Option, Arts and Sciences Psychology Option, Arts and Sciences Social Work Option, Arts and Sciences Sociology Option, and Human Resource Management. Online credits transfer to four-year institutions for students interested in earning a bachelor's degree. The College's associate degree in Human Resource Management is the only program of its kind available in New Jersey.
In addition to online courses and degrees, RCSJ's Certificates of Achievement provide concentrated programs in specialized skill areas. These online certificates, totaling between 15-18 credits, are designed for individuals looking to develop or enhance workplace expertise. Beginning fall 2019, all Business Certificates of Achievement can be completed online.
Non-traditional students, like Liza DeStefano of Williamstown, appreciate the versatility and resources available through online learning. Out of school for more than 30 years, DeStefano, who has a family and is a business owner, enjoys the convenience of being able to study at her leisure as she works toward earning an associate degree in Psychology. A series of family losses in 2018 sparked a love for poetry, which led her to share her poems on a bereavement website to help others. She plans to complete a grief certification course in the future.
“I have to admit that online learning is not an easy grade, as some people may think," stated DeStefano, the author of two books. “You need to log in every day, sometimes a few times a day, and being organized is a very big help. The convenience of being able to do class work at any time is a good thing. I will continue my online learning as it definitely works for me."
Jennifer Messeck of Commercial Township, an accounting major slated to graduate in May 2020, agrees that online classes offer more flexibility when pursuing a degree.
“I have taken numerous online classes through RCSJ's Cumberland campus. I take the online courses as much as possible because I am a single mom, working full time," said Messeck. “I wanted to show my daughter that no matter how old you are, you can go back to school to finish your degree."
Students taking online courses can also expect to receive the same comprehensive advising, tutoring and technology support services available to students on campus.
DeStefano isn't shy about admitting that there have been times when she has needed a little extra help with her studies. “I find that math has been a struggle for me because it is totally different from when I was in high school. As soon as I knew there was a free tutoring center, I immediately started getting help. The resource librarians also go out of their way to make sure you know how to find information and use it correctly," she said. “Students need to reach out and not be afraid to ask for help. It really is worth the effort."
For more information about Rowan College of South Jersey online degree and course offerings, visit RCSJ.edu.
Rowan College of South Jersey is a comprehensive, two-year regional college serving more than 10,000 full- and part-time students with degree and workforce development programs, on campuses in Gloucester and Cumberland Counties. Rowan College of South Jersey is fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.