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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Study Shows Online Learning Still Growing

A new Babson study found that enrollment in traditional for-credit online college classes remainded steady and adoption of massive open online courses (MOOCs) is still lukewarm by most institutions. Nearly one-third of all students were enrolled in at least one postsecondary online course for credit in the fall of 2011, an increase of 9.3%, according to Changing Course:Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States.

The increase was actually the smallest in the 10 years Babson had done the research, but coincided with the first overall enrollment decline of students on campus in 15 years. The report found that while the rate of growth slowed, online enrollment continues to make up a large part of all enrollments in higher education courses.

Three of five responding chief academic officers (CAO) agreed that MOOCs could help their institutions understand online pedagogy, but nearly half were neutral on whether they can be sustainable, according to a report in Inside Higher Education.

The survey also found that 77% of responding CAOs say learning outcomes in online classes are the sameas  or superior to traditional courses, up from 57.2% when the question was asked in 2003. Conversely, just 30% of the CAOs believe their instructors on campus accept the value of online education, with less than 3% planning to offer MOOCs on their campus, and just 9.4% planning to do so.

“It’s clearly not ready for prime time,” Jeff Seaman, co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group, said about MOOCs in a Bloomberg article. “People are saying this could make a real difference, but they’re not convinced there’s a sustainable business model.”

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