Over the past two decades the Internet has made it possible for anyone anywhere to pursue an affordable degree; for adults to continue their education in efforts to remain productive; and for universities to reach a greater number of people who want to learn. Infusing online learning into higher education provides educators with innovative ways to connect with students, wherever they are, and offers incredible, new career opportunities. This infographic by the Online Learning Consortium highlights a few of these changes.
Grade Level:Tracking Online Education in the United States is the twelfth annual report on the state of online learning in U.S. higher education. The 2014 Survey of Online Learning conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group and co-sponsored by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), Pearson and Tyton Partners, reveals the number of higher education students taking at least one distance education course in 2014 is up 3.7 percent from the previous year. While this represents the slowest rate of increase in over a decade, online enrollment growth far exceeded that of overall higher education.
Key report findings include:
- The year-to-year 3.7% increase in the number of distance education students is the lowest recorded over the 13 years of this report series.
- Public and private nonprofit institutions recorded distance enrollment growth, but these were offset by a decrease among for-profit institutions.
- The percent of academic leaders rating the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face remained unchanged at 74.1%.
- The proportion of chief academic leaders reporting online learning is critical to their long-term strategy reached a new high of 70.8%.
- Only 28.0% of academic leaders say that their faculty accept the “value and legitimacy of online education.”
- The adoption of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) is reaching a plateau, only 8.0% of higher education institutions currently offer one, another 5.6% report MOOCs are in the planning stages.
- The proportion of academic leaders who believe that MOOCs represent a sustainable method for offering online courses dropped to 16.3%.
As a current member of the advisory council for the UPCEA Center for Online Leadership and Strategy, I’m passing along this special update below from Bob Hansen, UPCEA CEO, releasing the 2014 UPCEA Federal Policy Brief. I highly recommend all those involved in online learning to read the briefing and stay abreast of the federal policy landscape that is influencing higher education and specifically online education today. ~ Jason Rhode @jasonrhode
The UPCEA Center for Online Leadership and Strategy is pleased to announce the 2014 UPCEA Federal Policy Brief. This document is a result of the 2014 UPCEA Online Leadership Roundtable and focuses broadly on online education policy at the federal level. Developed with direct input from membership and the UPCEA Policy Committee, these recommendations provide a framework for the federal government to address the needs of contemporary learners and those who serve them. Topics covered include State Authorization, financial aid, gainful employment, costs of compliance, and the importance of collecting meaningful data that reflect the fundamental demographic shift toward non-traditional-or “contemporary”-students. Click here to view the UPCEA Federal Policy Brief.
We encourage you to read it, and share it with others – including your institution’s internal government affairs staff, and your members of Congress. Our elected representatives must understand the importance of these issues, and the impact that they have on the students we serve. You can find the contact information for your members of Congress here. We encourage you to contact your members and schedule a meeting to discuss these issues if you are in Washington. If you are interested in increased UPCEA advocacy efforts, please fill out this form.
You can learn more about these policy issues during a session at the 2015 Summit for Online Leadership and Strategy, January 20-22, 2015 in San Antonio, Texas. Learn more about the Summit, hosted in partnership with the American Council on Education (ACE), and register here.
Also, remember to take advantage of the services and expertise offered by UPCEA’s Center for Online Leadership and Strategy. We know that balancing all of the facets of a successful online initiative can be challenging, which is why all members have complimentary access to the Center’s Second Opinion service. Second Opinion is an opportunity to ask questions or discuss pressing issues with the Center’s founding director, Ray Schroeder.
To keep abreast of developments related to State Authorization and state licensing issues, UPCEA’s expert partner, Cooley LLP, offers services to help schools navigate an increasingly dynamic environment.
I’d like to give a very special thanks to Chris Murray and Ken Salomon at Thompson Coburn for their expertise in helping develop the UPCEA Federal Policy Brief. To learn more about Thompson Coburn’s services and products, please click here.
I hope you’ll join us in raising awareness of these important issues!
Design is too often overlooked by course developers, or otherwise misunderstood – some eLearning designers think that as long as their course “looks good,” the visuals are sufficient. But graphical composition and design affect the way a learner takes in information, so giving a bit more thought to the visual layout of the pages of your course is an important part of eLearning best practices. The eLearning Design Principles Infographic presents 10 simple changes that will improve the layout of your eLearing course.
- Guide the viewer’s eye
- Control the clutter
- Shorten the columns
- Proper use of white space
- Smart font choices
- Keep things consistent
- Watch your alignment
- Let prominence inform position
- Offer easy access
- Use contrasting colors
11 Key Findings About Online College Students
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012 approximately 2.6 million students were enrolled in fully-online degree programs, while 5.5 million were taking at least one online course. For institutions to fully understand how to best serve this growing population, it is critical to understand who is studying online and what they are looking for in from their degree program.
The “Online College Students 2014: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences” report, a joint project of Learning House and Aslanian Market Research, shares the findings of the third annual survey of 1,500 former, current and future online students.
Some Key Findings of the Report
Online students are studying further away
Fifty-four percent of students attend an institution within 100 miles of where they live, showing a three-year trend of students increasingly willing to attend an institution farther from home. (In 2012, 80% reported attending an institution within 100 miles of where they lived. This declined to 69% in 2013.)
Cost and financial aid important, but not critical
Although students reported that cost was a primary selection factor when choosing an online degree program, approximately two-thirds of respondents said they did not choose the most inexpensive program. Only 20% said they would not attend an institution if financial aid was not offered, although approximately half said they would need financial aid.
Job placement messaging resonates
When given a choice of 18 marketing messages, the overwhelming favorite was “90% job placement.” This makes sense, given that a large majority of students pursuing an online degree are doing so for job-related reasons.
Transfer credit makes a difference
Approximately 80% of students have earned credit elsewhere, and those students want to bring that credit with them. Having a clearly defined, generous, and easy-to-navigate transfer credit policy can help institutions stand apart.