Thursday, November 09, 2006

Record Numbers of Students Taking College Courses Online

It would seem that the future is upon us, in academe. The numbers of higher ed students taking at least one course in an online format has risen to a new astonishing high (up from a previous record high).

Some questions that immediately come to mind are:
What are we (academics and administrators) going to do about this growing trend?
What are the challenges these teachers and students face?

Roughly one in six students enrolled in higher education — about 3.2 million people — took at least one online course last fall, a sharp increase defying predictions that online learning growth is leveling off.

A new report scheduled for released Thursday by The Sloan Consortium, a group of colleges pursuing online programs, estimates that 850,000 more students took online courses in the fall of 2005 than the year before, an increase of nearly 40 percent. Last year, the group had reported slowing growth, prompting speculation the trend had hit a ceiling.

"The growth was phenomenal," said Jeff Seaman, Sloan's CIO and survey director, who also serves as co-director of the Babson College survey research group. "It's higher in absolute numbers and higher in percentages than anything we've measured before. And it's across the board," at schools ranging from doctoral institutions to those offering associate's degrees to for-profit colleges....

You can read the full story here.
You can see the full Sloan report here.

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