From Santa Monica to Singapore and from San Francisco to Switzerland, SMC Extension’s online courses are growing increasingly popular.

Offered through a partnership with Ed2Go, SMC Extension’s classes fall into two categories: creative/personal enrichment (called Fundamentals) and career training. In the former category, registrations grew from 186 in 2016 to 602 in 2018, a more than 200 percent increase over two years. Career training registrations went up from four in 2016 to 26 in 2018, a six-fold increase.

“As people get busier and as traffic, not just in Los Angeles but in areas throughout the world, becomes more congested, online courses offer people an efficient and flexible way of upgrading their skills or taking classes for enrichment,” said Michelle King, SMC’s Director of Career & Contract Education.

In the Fundamentals, or enrichment, category, each class can be completed in six weeks and usually contain 12 lessons representing 24 hours of instruction, King noted. The Career Training Program is open enrollment and self-paced, lasting three to six months. A number of the topics or programs are bundled to create a more comprehensive training program.

“Basically,” King said, “you can design your own curriculum.”

Students from all over the world take the online courses through SMC Extension. A hefty percentage is from the Los Angeles area, but include many other portions of the state, from San Diego to San Francisco.

“What gets interesting is we get 10 percent of our online students outside of California in places like New Jersey, Wyoming, Puerto Rico and Texas, and then further out we have students in such areas British Columbia, Canada; New Zealand; Switzerland; and the United Kingdom,” King noted.

The most popular courses represent a range of interests from creative to technical, from writing fiction to writing code. And there are some surprises on the popular class list, including A to Z Grant Writing, Accounting Fundamentals, Speed Spanish, Introduction to SQL (Structured Query Language, which is used in programming and designed for managing data), Medical Terminology Series, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Introduction to Interior Design, Introduction to Photoshop, and Beginning Writer’s Workshop.

Another surprise for its popularity is a class called “Singapore Math Strategies.” However, when looking at the data it became clearer why it was so popular – it seems a private California school had all their instructors sign up for the class.

King said that SMC Extension will continue to beef up its marketing efforts, which have already proven to increase online course registrations.

“We are always looking for the best ways to deliver career training and lifelong learning to our community, both in Santa Monica and the world,” she said. “Our successful partnership with Ed2Go is one of those ways and we will work hard to expand our reach.”

For information and registration for Fundamentals (enrichment) online courses, go to ed2go.com/smce. For Career Training, the link is careertraining.ed2go.com/smce.

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