Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Online Learning Grows at Public Universities

What is the state of online learning at public universities? According to a new national report released end of August by the Association of Public Land-grant Universities, online enrollment has more than doubled from an estimated 1.6 million students in fall 2002 to 3.94 million students in fall 2007. It grew by nearly 13 percent from fall 2006 to fall 2007 alone. One-third of public university faculty have taught an online course and more than one-half have recommended an online course to students, the study found.

“During the past decade, online learning has begun to weave into the fabric of higher education and has become the fastest growing segment,” said Peter McPherson, president of APLU. “All indications are that this growth will continue.”

The report was the result of a two-year study by the Sloan National Commission on Online Learning. It also found that nearly 64 percent of faculty said it takes “somewhat more” or “a lot more” effort to teach online compared to a face-to-face course. “However, a large majority of faculty cited student needs as a primary motivator for teaching online,” the report said, “most commonly citing ‘meet student needs for flexible access’ or the ‘best way to reach particular students’ as the reason they choose to teach online courses.

However, the report further outlined the shortcomings and challenges faculty faced at institutions and what administrators can do to assist with creating more online learning opportunities. For a copy of the report go to .