While "brick and mortar" mode of learning will never be eliminated, students are attracted to the online environment for many reasons:
- Students can attend a course anytime, from anywhere.
- Online can be less intimidating.
- Course material is accessible 24/7.
- Online learning can facilitate team learning.
- Online course development allows for a broad spectrum of content/diversity of course material.
- Online environment makes instructors more approachable.
- Online learning enables student-centered teaching approaches.
JUST THE FACTS
According to the National Center for Education Statistics Distance Education at Postsecondary Institutions: 2006-07.
- There were 12.2 million distance education enrollments at two-year and four-year institutions of which 9.8 million were undergraduate and 2.4 million were graduate or first-professional. Of the 12.2 million, 9.39 million were for online courses, 1.46 million were for blended courses (online/campus based), and 1.22 million enrollments were for correspondence courses.
- Two-thirds of all institutions offered college level, credit-granting distance education.
- One-third of all institutions provided degree or certificate programs that could be completed totally online.
- One-third of all institutions offered non-credit distance education courses.
Top 5 Factors Affecting Institutions' Decision to Offer Distance Education:
- Meeting student demand for flexible schedules.
- Providing access to college.
- Making more courses available.
- Seeking to increase student enrollment.
- Responding to the needs of employers/business.
According to Steve Kolowich of The Chronicle of Higher Education, "Both public universities and two-year colleges did agree that online courses were 'critical' to their long-term strategies, while baccalaureate institutions generally refrained from ascribing them such dramatic importance. Still, 58 percent of all colleges surveyed agreed that online courses were strategically critical."
- Recession May Drive More Adult Students to Take Online Courses by Steve Kolowich, The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 16, 2009.
- Distance Learning for Continuing Education by John R. Hall, January 26, 2009
- Online Education Grows, but Painfully by Marc Parry, May 22, 2009.
- The Distance Ed Tipping Point by Scott Jaschik, May 26, 2009
- United States Distance Learning Association
- Distance Education and Training Council
- Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration
- Magna Publications
- Handbook of Online Learning: Innovations in Higher Education and Corporate Training
- Evaluation in Distance Education and E-Learning: The Unfolding Model
- Building Online Learning Communities: Effective Strategies for the Virtual Classroom