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Food for Thought - Online Education Growing at Rapid Pace

As the number of online courses and programs proliferate, student demand for online courses continues to grow. Keeping pace with demand and delivering online education cost effectively remain key challenges for institutions.  What strategies are your institution using to address these challenges and ensure the quality of your online education programs?

Online enrollment in US exceeds 6 million students
Source: Babson College News Release
Date: 11/9/11
The 2011 Survey of Online Learning reveals that the number of students taking at least one online course has now surpassed 6 million.  Now nearly one-third of all students in higher education are taking at least one online course. “The rate of growth in online enrollments is ten times that of the rate in all higher education” said study co-author I. Elaine Allen, Co-Director of the Babson Survey Research Group and Professor of Statistics & Entrepreneurship at Babson College. “While growth rates have declined somewhat from previous years, we see no evidence that a dramatic slowdown in online enrollments is on the horizon.” "There is a wide variety in rate of growth of online enrollments among different colleges and universities, and also among different programs within the same institution.  For example, fully online health sciences programs show higher growth than online programs in other disciplines.”

Additional Coverage:
Sloan Consortium
Inside Higher Ed

Online Programs Face New Demands From Accreditors
Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education
Date: 11/6/11
In some circles, online education has a bad reputation. Accusations that some for-profit companies prey on unsuspecting students to rake in federal financial aid have led to image problems for the sector. Critics see online education, offered in particular by for-profit colleges, as the dark underbelly of higher education, with the quality of Internet courses second to the greed of unscrupulous investors.

Additional Stories:
The Chronicle of Higher Education: 7 Community Colleges Try an Online Doorway to Help Students Succeed