Meet the Next-Generation College Degree

May 26, 2015

Mountain View, CA — Whether you're a high school biology student or a professional seeking to reboot your career, there has never been a better time to learn online.

As the education space grows and proliferates, a new, more results-oriented generation of online providers is rising, enabling students to earn college credits and credentials online. This is a marked change from earlier options that only provided learning materials and didn't integrate well with traditional universities. is one example of the new model, delivering over ten thousand online video lessons to millions of users every month, across many subjects of study.

Many of these visitors have very concrete learning goals. As Adrian Ridner, co-founder and CEO of, says, "What we're seeing are students who want to accomplish very specific things, whether it's earning a Certificate of Completion or getting credit for a gen-ed class."

Completion rates for online education – and higher education in general – are notoriously low. But a new study suggests that online learning can be beneficial to those who later pursue a more traditional education. A new working paper presented by Peter Shea, the associate provost of online learning at the University of Albany-SUNY, and covered by Hechinger Report, notes that:

Community college students who take online courses are more likely — 25 percent more likely to be exact — to complete their two-year associate's degree or some sort of certificate than students who didn't take any online classes. Not only are online course takers more likely to graduate, they're more likely to graduate sooner than students who don't take any online classes.

For companies like, integration with traditional providers of higher education is key. Many of's courses are recommended for credit by the American Council on Education (ACE), which means that students can earn credit by watching online video lessons and taking proctored exams. Credits earned may be transferred to any of the thousands of colleges and universities that accept ACE credit. Other ed-tech providers – notably 2U, Coursera, and edX – have a similar model, though these companies tend to be platforms for the specific schools they partner with. With and the American Council on Education, a high school senior who knows that she will face general education requirements in college could earn those credits online, then transfer those credits toward her degree at whatever school (within the ACE network) she chose to attend.

"You can earn the degree you want, at the school you want, at a fraction of the cost," says Ridner. "This is the future of education and the next-generation college degree. Increasingly, this is going to mean more flexibility and efficiency for students and a real change in the way that an education is delivered."

The company believes that this kind of "blended learning" – using online materials to complement brick-and-mortar institutions, and vice-versa – is a win-win for all parties involved. Blended learning has the potential to make higher education more affordable and accessible to all students, while better preparing students for college-level work.

As Ridner states, "Technology has drastically changed many areas of our lives, from finance to transportation. Nothing yet has truly modernized education, but I believe is the next step in this evolution."

About is the largest, most extensive online learning site. We are on a mission to make education accessible to everyone. As a top resource for over 15 million students a month, we offer a place where students can study any subject, prepare for any exam, and earn college credit transferrable to over 2,000 institutions. We have a massive video library of over 10,000 short, fun, and engaging lessons perfect for any audience at any grade level. Additionally, offers guidance counseling in order to help students save money and make informed decisions about their education and careers.

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