One in four study at Swedish unis via the net

Earning college credit online is becoming increasingly popular in Sweden, where one in four university students now enrolls in a programme conducted over the internet.

One in four study at Swedish unis via the net

The number of college students taking classes online has jumped 41 percent since 2005, according to new figures from Statistics Sweden (Statistiska centralbyrån – SCB).

The figure has increased by a whopping 245 percent in the last ten years, with more than 90,000 students enrolled at Swedish universities via online courses, the Metro newspaper reports.

However, online university programmes place different demands on students and teachers, who aren’t always able to keep up with the trend.

“Teaching methods need to be better adjusted for this type of education,” Anders Söderholm, head of Mid Sweden University (Mittuniversitetet), told the TT news agency.

A number of projects are underway at Mid Sweden University to help adapt programmes and teachers to an approach to higher education that is growing increasing popular among students in Sweden.

The university, which has three campuses located in Västernorrland County in northern Sweden, has 48 percent of its student body enrolled in distance courses carried out online.

“The increase is taking place across the whole of Europe, it’s the part of the education market that is increasing the most and that means it’s filling a need, but places different demands on students and teachers,” said Söderholm.

Statistics also reveal that students enrolled in universities online achieve lower results compared with students who attend classes on campus, Metro reports

“It’s about planning and prioritizing; you can’t just think ‘I can do this later’ and do everything at the last minute. Then you won’t succeed,” Dunia Tazkarij, a 22-year-old student enrolled in an online programme at Umeå University in northern Sweden, told the newspaper.

TT/The Local/dl

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Sweden in world’s top five for online business

A UN study looking at how easy different countries make it for businesses to facilitate online purchases has ranked Sweden among the top five nations in the world.

Sweden in world's top five for online business
Sweden is a global tech hub. Photo: Susanne Wallström/Image Bank Sweden
The report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) looked at the opportunities and challenges of e-commerce around the world. 
Sweden came fifth in a global table, with neighbouring Norway and Finland scooping the second and third spots. Luxembourg was singled out as a world leader in facilitating online purchases, while Canada came fourth out of a total of 130 nations investigated by the UNCTAD.
While the study noted that most of the top global e-commerce companies are from the United States and China, it ranked Sweden among the top countries in the world for home postal delivery and secure servers, credit card access and internet usage by individuals.
The report suggested that more than two thirds of Swedes bought products online in 2013, compared to less than one in three people in Spain, Italy and China. The United Kingdom led the way on this variable, with more than seven out of ten Brits using the internet to make purchases, with other Scandinavian countries and Australia also scoring highly.
“The index allows countries to compare their readiness with others and also indicates their relative strengths and weaknesses in different elements of the e-commerce process, such as the quality of the internet infrastructure and the availability of payment and delivery solutions,” the UNCTAD said in statement.
The ranking is included in the international organization’s Information Economy Report 2015 which, in terms of gross merchandise value, lists the top e-commerce sites in the world as the Alibaba Group (China), Amazon (US) and eBay (US).
Sweden's high score in the report follows several other recent studies focussing on the Nordic nation's connectivity.
In 2013, it was described as most effective country at using the internet to improve lives in a ranking by a foundation headed by Tim Berners-Lee, the British inventor of the World Wide Web.
Last month, Sweden was dubbed the second best country in the EU for 'digital performance' as a new Digital Economy and Society index was unveiled by the EU.
After measuring connectivity (how accessible and affordable broadband is), internet skills, how frequently Europeans use the internet for key activities such as online shopping and accessing news and how well developed digital technologies and digital public services were in each member state, Sweden was given a score of 0.66, with 1.0 being the maximum score possible. Denmark was the only country to score higher, with Finland also making the top five.