At a time when online education is seen as both a boon for cash-strapped colleges and universities and a crucial piece of the nation’s access and completion goals, institutions that are being sluggish about growing their online programs have no one to blame but themselves.
Online college enrollments grew by 21 percent to 5.6 million last fall, the biggest percentage increase in several years, according to a report released today by the Sloan Consortium and the Babson Survey Research Group.
At the same time, the authors say online growth might begin to slow down in the near future, as the biggest drivers of enrollment growth face budget challenges and stricter recruitment oversight from the federal government.
Do historically black colleges and universities need to get serious about online education?
Perhaps, says the latest report from the Digital Learning Lab at Howard University. An increasing number of historically black institutions are wading into the online medium — often with the help of for-profit developers. Still, the vast majority of HBCUs do not offer online programs.
Perhaps all of the back-and-forth about StraighterLine — the news stories, the blog posts, the assorted incidents of backlash, the endless tug-of-war over who awards credit for what — might be boiled down to two essential questions: Are StraighterLine’s courses truly more or less equivalent to the courses that many college students are already taking? And, more broadly, at what point does any educational experience — specifically, in StraighterLine’s case, an introductory-level general education class — become worthy of college credit?