Learning on Demand: Online Education in the United States, 2009

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The 2009 survey of online education funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is now available.  The survey was conducted by the Babson Research Survey Group.  The key findings of the survey were:

  • Over 4.6 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2008 term; a 17 percent increase over the number reported the previous year.
  • The 17 percent growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 1.2 percent growth of the overall higher education student population.
  • More than one in four college and university students now take at least one course online.

The full report is available here.

Or, here: learning-on-demand

 

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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Staying the Course: Online Education In the United States, 2008

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The 2008 Sloan survey of online education in the United States. The survey was conducted by the Babson Research Survey Group.  The survey was funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  The survey represents the responses of over 2,500 colleges and universities and addresses the following key questions:

How many students are learning online?:

  • Over 3.9 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2007 term; a 12 percent increase over the number reported the previous year.
  • The 12.9 percent growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 1.2 percent growth of the overall higher education student population.
  • Over twenty percent of all U.S. higher education students were taking at least one online course in the fall of 2007.

What is Impact of the Economy on Online Enrollments?:

  • There is widespread agreement that higher fuel costs will lead to more students selecting online courses.
  • Institutions that offer programs to serve working adults are the most positive about the potential for overall enrollment growth being driven by rising unemployment.

Do Academic Leaders and Faculty Agree?:

  • Both chief academic officers and online teaching faculty said that the flexibility in meeting the needs of students was the most important motivation for teaching online.
  • Being required to teach online had the lowest rated motivationin each group.
  • The largest difference in view is in the ranking of additional income as a motivation; chief academic officers ranked this second of seven items, faculty ranked it fifth.
  • Faculty ranking stressed student centered issues more so than the ranking of chief academic officers.

Is online Learning Strategic?:

  • The proportion of institutions declaring that online education is critical to their long-term strategy shows a small decline for fall 2007.
  • The proportion of institutions that see online education as a critical part of their long-term strategy appears to have reached a plateau over the past several years.
  • Public institutions continue to be the most likely to believe that online education is critical to their long-term strategy.
  • Approximately one-third of baccalaureate institutions consider online to be critical, a rate about half that of other institutional types.

What Disciplines are Best Represented Online?:

  • There is roughly equal penetration for seven of the eight major discipline areas being examined.
  • Engineering is the only discipline area where online representation is much lower than for other areas.
  • Public institutions have the highest penetration rates for all disciplines other than engineering.
  • Associate’s institutions have a wide lead in online penetration for psychology, social sciences, and liberal arts.

The full report is available here.

Or, here:staying-the-course

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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Online Nation: Five Years of Growth In Online Education

Online Nation

The 2007 survey of online education conducted by the Babson Research Survey Group is now available.  The research was funded by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  The survey represents the responses of over 2,500 colleges and universities and addresses these key questions:

How Many Students are Learning Online?:

  • Almost 3.5 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2006 term; a nearly 10 percent increase over the number reported the previous year.
  • The 9.7 percent growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 1.5 percent growth of the overall higher education student population.
  • Nearly twenty percent of all U.S. higher education students were taking at least one online course in the fall of 2006.

Where has the Growth In Online Learning Occurred?:

  • Two-year associate’s institutions have the highest growth rates and account for over one-half of all online enrollments for the last five years.
  • Baccalaureate institutions began the period with the fewest online enrollments and have had the lowest rates of growth.

Why do Institutions Provide Online Offerings?:

  • All types of institutions cite improved student access as their top reason for offering online courses and programs.
  • Institutions that are the most engaged in online education cite increasing the rate of degree completion as a very important objective; this is not as important for institutions that are not as engaged in online learning.
  • Online is not seen as a way to lower costs; reduced or contained costs are among the least-cited objectives for online education.
  • The appeal of online instruction to non-traditional students is indicated by the high number of institutions which cite growth in continuing and/or professional education as an objective for their online offerings.

What are the Prospects for Future Online Enrollment Growth?:

  • Much of the past growth in online enrollments has been fueled by new institutions entering the online learning arena. This transition is now nearing its end; most institutions that plan to offer online education are already doing so.
  • A large majority (69 percent) of academic leaders believe that student demand for online learning is still growing.
  • Virtually all (83 percent) institutions with online offerings expect their online enrollments to increase over the coming year.
  • Future growth in online enrollments will most likely come from those institutions that are currently the most engaged; they enroll the most online learning students and have the highest expectations for growth.

What are the Barriers to Widespread Adoption of Online Education?:

  • Academic leaders cite the need for more discipline on the part of online students as the most critical barrier, matching the results of last year’s survey.
  • Faculty acceptance of online instruction remains a key issue. Those institutions most engaged in online do not believe it is a concern for their own campus, but do see it as a barrier to more wide-spread adoption of online education.
  • Higher costs for online development and delivery are seen as barriers among those who are planning online offerings, but not among those who have online offerings.
  • Academic leaders do not believe that there is a lack of acceptance of online degrees by potential employers.

 

The full report is available here.

Or, here: online-nation

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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