The South Dakota Board of Regents reports that more than 20,000 students in the state's public university system took at least one course last year through the Internet, two-way television or some other distance delivery method.
The number of students taking so-called distance education courses last year rose 13 percent from a year earlier. The number of students in such courses increased nearly 71 percent in the past five years.
Regents Executive Director Jack Warner says the distance courses have delivered public university education to many people who might have been unable to take courses before technological advances allowed courses to be delivered away from university campus classrooms.
Warner says about three-quarters of the distance students are undergraduates, and about 70 percent are enrolled part-time.