Opportunities: 10 in 10 Continued from page 4
In August 2004, The Pew Project on “The Internet and Daily Life” reported that “88% of online Americans say the Internet plays a role in their daily routines…and 64% of Internet users say their daily routines and activities would be affected if they could no longer use the Internet” . Moreover, 40% of people over the age of 16 participated in work related adult education, 51% of it provided by business and industry ; an estimated 25% and growing percentage of corporate education is online.
Yet, in 2003, only about one in four adults (27%) had attained at least a bachelor’s degree .
27% is a remarkable increase over the 4% figure in 1900, yet it is insufficient for success in a knowledge society. Gary Miller of The Pennsylvania State University points out that internet communications bring cultural change:
Online learning is a critical innovation in helping colleges and universities reposition themselves to meet the dramatically different social needs that are arising as the information revolution matures. Access is one important dimension of this. As we expand the number of people served by higher education, a good part of the growth will be nontraditional students. These are no longer on the fringes of higher education; they are a key constituency… The pedagogy that is inherent in ALN--inquiry-oriented, resource-based learning—is a natural pedagogy for the world in which we live. We should also continue to see ALN-based courses grow on campus for traditional students. Online learning should replace large lecture halls, giving students a deeper general education experience. This is a trend that should also drive us to the "10 by 10" goal.
Non-traditional learners include adults who flock to programs designed with their needs in mind. For-profit schools report annual enrollment growth online as high as 72% ; and leading institutions such the University of Illinois, University of Maryland University College, the State University of New York and the University of Massachusetts report increasing demand for online programs and high enrollment growth in online programs . At the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS), which intends to put all of its programs online in the next 10 years, Ray Schroeder reports that ALN classes are the first to fill and close and they are preferred by “a huge, as yet not fully served, group of prospective students who are desperately seeking to complete degrees in non-traditional ways (i.e. not quitting their jobs, leaving their families and moving to a campus).” UIS found that
In 2003, one out every four students was taking at least one online class. In spring, 2004, one out of every three students was taking at least one online class. That amounted to 1,500 different students accounting for more than 2,000 enrollments. In 2003, 47% of those graduating from UIS had taken at least one online class. A growing number of students were completing their degrees online at a distance.
Employer-funded programs and industry-specific programs, such as Pace University’s NACTEL program for telecommunications workers and the NYU program for FDNY employees, make higher education possible for people who would not otherwise have had the option.