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The Best Online Education Options for You

By Elizabeth Wasserman

Leo Bottary always wanted to earn a master's degree, but with a full-time job in public relations in Tampa, Fla., two children, and frequent business trips, he didn't have the time. Last year, however, he enrolled in an online distance learning degree program at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. Now, Bottary is earning a master's in strategic communication and leadership via online courses.

"Between my travel schedule and not being able to commit to being in a classroom two or three nights a week, it was easier for me to participate in a program in this fashion," Bottary says. "I put 20 to 25 hours a week into the program, but I do it when I have the time."

Busy adults like Bottary are realizing that "e-learning" is a viable alternative to campus-based courses. With e-learning, courses are available online and often around the clock. E-learning courses can cost less than traditional tuition and enable people to connect with the best programs out there, versus being limited by their local offerings. For example, many long-established colleges and universities -- from George Washington University to DePaul University to the University of Texas -- now offer online degree programs or classes. In addition, many professional certification programs, such as financial planning and technology certifications increasingly offer online courses, and there are e-learning courses for hobbyists and just for fun.

If you're feeling the itch to develop a new skill or expertise, but you don't have time or access to a school, here are answers to questions you may have about e-learning.
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