By Carl Straumsheim
After two years of hype about massive open online courses, academic leaders’ expectations of all of online education have taken a small but remarkable step back.
That’s the main takeaway from “Grade Change: Tracking Online Education in the United States,” an annual survey of more than 4,700 colleges and universities performed by the Babson Survey Research Group. The annual study was previously known as the Sloan Survey of Online Learning. The data, collected in partnership with the College Board, suggest online enrollment growth is slowing — though not yet plateauing — and that a divide is forming between institutions that offer online courses and degree programs and those that don’t.
Since the report debuted in 2003, the number of academic officers who have said online education is a critical component of their long-term strategy has grown steadily, peaking at 69.1 percent in 2012. Last year, the number dropped to 65.9 percent, a decrease the report attributes entirely to officials at institutions without any online offerings. Among those institutions, the share of responses calling online education a critical component has plummeted from 32.9 percent in 2012 to 14.3 percent in 2013.
The drop has more to do with doubt that downright opposition to online education, however. Over all, institutions that said online education is not critical to their long-term strategy dropped to 9.7 percent, the lowest yet.
[ Full article available at Inside Higher Ed: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/01/15/after-two-years-mooc-mania-enthusiasm-online-education-dips ]