Bad times can be busy times

Despite dire predictions of a global recession and its impact on post-secondary institutions, there are bright spots amongst the gloom:

Bad times in the economy may mean good times for continuing education, especially in distance-learning programs. More graduates and mature students are turning to distance-learning courses in lieu of the classroom as a way to brush up on their skills while working or tending to a family full-time.

Some institutions have seen significant growth: Memorial University of Newfoundland, for example, reported an overall 13.1 per cent increase in collective distance education registrations since 2007.

Not much of a surprise to John O’Brien, manager of media relations at Athabasca University, a school that has made distance learning its stock in trade since 1970. When job prospects darken, he says, people often return to school to develop new skills.