Although the average online college students are females in their early thirties, the massive open online course (MOOC) field has been largely dominated by men since the programs first began to gain popularity back in 2012. And the MOOC gender gap has been startling for many, with nine in every ten students in some MOOC's identifying as male. On the other hand, research shows that one in three women see online degrees as more achievable compared to traditional, campus-based programs.
But the lack of women in online programs did not come as a shock for many who track non-traditional classes – especially since science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is such a male dominated area and so prevalent in online education. So which programs are women taking when they sign up for online study?
The future is looking bright for women in business, and online programs have made it easier than ever before for women looking to advance their business career despite other commitments like work and family. Statistics show that more women are studying business online than ever before, and with options like these MBA programs in Michigan, women are finding it easier than ever to invest in their education without the need to worry about childcare, cutting work hours or neglecting other commitments.
#2. Food and Nutrition:
Statistics show that food and nutrition topped the list of online classes from Coursera that women prefer – over 60% of students enrolled identified as female. These classes teach a wide range of skills from learning to cook (often popular with younger career women) to nutritional science and more. Career options could include becoming a professional health nutritionist, personal trainer (with additional education) or chef.
#3. Teacher Training:
Teacher professional development ranks high in MOOCs that women sign up for, with almost 60% female enrolment. It may not come as a surprise to anybody working in the teaching industry that teachers are predominantly female – data gathered in Australia found that amongst recent university graduates, 85% of primary school teachers and 68% of secondary school teachers are female.
Arts and humanities programs rank highly, too, with over 50% of enrolment being female. Programs such as English language and literature, music, fine art and humanities are popular online programs in general and particularly amongst creative students, who often fare well learning online, where they are able to enjoy the flexibility of studying at times that are most convenient to them and tailor their degree program to best suit their needs.
Health-related programs are also popular with women, with over 50% of students enrolled on health courses identifying as female. This may be due to the large amount of nursing programs now available for studying online – nursing is still a highly female-dominated profession, and thanks to distance learning, more nurses than ever before now have the opportunity to progress in their career by taking a master's degree or even a doctorate in nursing without the need to shift their work or family commitments. Online programs have provided many opportunities for nurses to become family nurse practitioners, for example, or easily learn a specialist area of their progression like anesthesia.
#6. Social Sciences:
Social sciences also see a high enrolment percentage from women – courses such as psychology, sociology, criminology, geography, law, history and anthropology tend to be more balanced in terms of female to male enrolment ratios. This may be largely due to the fact that there are many diverse career paths included in social science programs; social science students learn an extensive range of skills that can be transferred to a variety of professions that may not necessarily be connected to their chosen degree subject. As a result, these degree program choices are often popular amongst students who are still not sure about their future career path and want to make sure that they obtain a qualification that provides them with a variety of transferable skills.
#7. Computing and IT:
STEM subjects are still at the bottom of the list when it comes to women in online education, but with more initiatives than ever to get women into IT, the amount of female enrolments onto programs offering these subjects is on the rise. Computing and coding have long been male-dominated fields, but in recent times, all of that is beginning to change. More educational institutions, learn-to-code platforms and workplaces are encouraging women to learn to code and improve their IT skills.
#8. Other STEM Subjects:
Women still make up the lowest percentage of enrolments on other science, technology, engineering and math online programs as these are fields that have been largely dominated by men even before online learning was possible. However, things are certainly changing for women in STEM – while the gender gap is not close to closing just yet, the number of women with increasing interest in these subjects is on the rise. This is due to several factors, including more initiatives to encourage women to get into STEM and more school campaigns to encourage young girls' interest in these. In the future, STEM will hopefully be more equal in terms of gender.
Online learning is a hugely popular option for both men and women looking to improve their career prospects. And it provides a massive level of flexibility for those who are hoping to get further up the career ladder but cannot avoid their family or work commitments. For many women, online learning is often bridging the gap between pursuing their education/ career and staying at home to raise a family – thanks to online programs, doing both is no longer an impossible option.
3 Min Read
With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.
When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.
Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan
Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.
Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.
The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.
Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits
The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.
With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.
Tip 3: Start slow and strong
If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.
Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.
Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize
In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.
When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.
Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness
From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.
Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.
Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.
A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.
Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition
In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.
If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health
While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.
For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.
While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.