Entering the Mainstream: Distance Education and Higher Education
Simonson, Michael, Distance Learning
Erollments in distance-delivered courses increased almost 20% in 2003, according to a report authored by Alien and Seaman (2004). This monograph, supported by the Sloan Foundation, is titled Entering the Mainstream and is a follow-up to a similar study reported last year, titled Sizing the Opportunity.
Authors of Entering the Mainstream collected data using a survey collected from 1,170 institutions of higher education: 585 public, 536 private nonprofit, and 49 for-profit. Among the interesting conclusions offered in the report were the following:
* Slightly more than half of all colleges rated online learning as essential to their overall strategy.
* 1.9 million students were studying online in the fall of 2003.
* Just over 40% of responding institutions agreed that students were at least satisfied with their online courses, as compared to traditional classroom courses.
* Baccalaureate institutions had the lowest online enrollments and lowest opinions about online learning.
* The larger the institution, the more likely it believed that online education is critical.
* Administrators predicted that online enrollments will grow 24% in the next year, with the greatest growth in private, forprofit colleges.
* The majority of academic leaders believed that online learning quality is already equal to or superior to face-to-face instruction.
John Flores, executive director of the United States Distance Learning Association, commented on the study's findings. …