QUINCY -- John Wood Community College's online learning program now ranks among the state's best.
JWCC is ranked No. 6 among the 48 community colleges in Illinois by the Community for Accredited Online Schools website.
The rankings are based on quality, affordability, flexibility and degrees granted to students.
To be eligible for the rankings, community colleges must be regionally or nationally accredited, hold a not-for-profit status and offer at least one online degree.
"Students' schedules and expectations continue to demand convenient, quality and relevant education, which is why we continue to find ways to deliver more courses online with more starting points throughout the year," said Stephanie Phillips, JWCC's interim dean of arts and sciences.
JWCC began offering online learning in 2002 and in 2014 created its "2x2" accelerated online program that allows students to take two eight-week online classes at a time to complete an associate degree. Last year the college began a four-week online winter session to further its offerings for students to pursue credits during the holiday break.
Nearly 25 percent of all JWCC credits are now delivered online.
"We also want to ensure students' success through multiple avenues of support," Phillips said. "That means making sure a student understands the expectations of online learning at the point of registration and also how to connect with the material, instructor and fellow students throughout the class."
Dana Simmons of Canton, Mo., is one of the students pursuing an online degree from JWCC.
"I've had my own business for several years and decided to make a career change," Simmons said. "Being able to take the first two years of my psychology degree online is the key to making that possible. It has helped me continue to work, take care of my family and pursue this next path in my life."
Joining JWCC in the top 10 Illinois schools were No. 1 Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg; No. 2 Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove; No. 3. Illinois Central College in East Peoria; No. 4 Black Hawk College in Moline; No, 5 Joliet Junior College in Joliet; No. 7 Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey; No. 8. Spoon River College in Canton, Ill.; No. 9 Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon; and No. 10. Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield.