By Steve Kolowich
Academic leaders increasingly think that massive open online courses are not sustainable for the institutions that offer them and will “cause confusion about higher-education degrees,” according to the results of an annual survey.
The Babson Survey Research Group has charted the growth of online education annually for more than a decade with support from the Sloan Consortium and other partners. The latest survey, conducted last year, asked chief academic officers at 2,831 colleges and universities about online education.
The findings, released in a report on Wednesday, reveal a growing skepticism among academic leaders about the promise of MOOCs. The report also suggests that conventional, tuition-based online education is still growing, although not as swiftly as in past years.
In 2012 the Babson survey asked about MOOCs for the first time. At the time, relatively few academic officers were concerned about whether their institutions would be able to field free online courses year after year—after all, less than 3 percent of them had even begun offering MOOCs at that point.
A year later, there were more doubts about the long-term prospects of teaching free online courses. In 2012, 26 percent of academic leaders disagreed that MOOCs were “a sustainable method for offering courses.” In 2013 that number leapt to 39 percent.
“The chief academic officers at institutions with the greatest experience and exposure to traditional online instruction are the least likely to believe in the long-term future of MOOCs,” wrote I. Elaine Allen and Jeff Seaman, the report’s authors.
[ Full article available at The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/article/Doubts-About-MOOCs-Continue-to/144007/ ]