NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Ten years ago, 1,234 were taking online college courses at Rutgers University.

Last year, in the fall semester of 2017, that number reached 23,042, according to university figures.

Nationwide over 6.4 million people are sitting in front of computers to take college courses, about one-third of all the students taking high education classes, Richard Novak, Rutgers vice president for continuing education and distance education, told the university board of governors recently.

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"If we're going to make Rutgers as accessible and affordable as we can, we've got embrace online portals," university President Robert Barchi told the board.

Among the challenges facing this form for education is the concern of faculty, Novak said in his report. Less than one-third of all chief academic officers at colleges university, 29.1 percent, believe their faculty accepts the value and legitimacy of online educational programs.

Additionally, there are new federal regulations, which have resulted in the creation of practices for compliance with these standards, along with increased costs for changes in the design of courses and the advanced technologies to present the lessons. There is also additional training needed for the faculty in presenting the courses, Novak said.

Issues have also been raised about student authentication while taking the classes.

Rutgers has offered online distance learning for 22 years, since the first offerings in 1996.