Six institutions provide snapshots of some of the major transformative effects of online education.
Online learning is now reaching the core, helping to transform higher education and moving beyond isolated efforts to pervasive influence and change. The dichotomy of distance learning vs. campus-based education has broken down, and forward-looking senior administrators have embraced new approaches to education that contain the elements of successful online education while cultivating the community-building and branding of site-based education, particularly to promote enriched faculty and program development. Rather than being isolated in a distance learning task force or continuing education program, the conversations about online learning now occur—or need to occur—at the executive level and throughout other levels and structures.
The ways institutions have structured their initial innovation with online learning vary greatly. Initial business model decisions present different challenges in terms of how institutions will integrate online learning. This paper looks at several common business models and the opportunities and challenges that each presents to institutions that want to fully integrate online learning.
Is there sufficient motivation for the institution to scale up online education?
This may involve financial and other considerations, and [we refer] to it as "cost-effectiveness" .
This special issue of the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks focuses on institutional transformation, including insights into business models. This introduction points to additional Sloan-C resources on cost effectiveness and institutional commitment.
In the U.S., only 38 of every 100 ninth graders enroll in college; of these 38, only 18 complete bachelors' degrees within six years. Asynchronous learning networks (ALN)—asynchronous, highly interactive, instructor-led, resource-rich, cohort-based learning—can yield high success rates. Growing demand for online education and the expectation among higher education leaders that ALN learning outcomes will exceed face to face outcomes reflect belief in ALN's power to engage learners. Sloan-C's body of research confirms that ALN is especially suited for the anytime, anywhere, affordable access that is responsive to learners in a knowledge society. In fact, the original principles of ALN are the same principles that characterize ALN programs that have high student success rates. This paper includes vignettes from two- and four-year ALN programs that have used these principles to achieve high success rates.
This paper reviews online enrollment trends in higher education, describes the characteristics of online programs that have scaled successfully to meet increasing demand, identifies challenges impacting the continued growth of online enrollments in this sector, and outlines the opportunities for increasing access to higher education through scaling of online initiatives.
The development of feasible and cost-effective remote engineering and science laboratories is one of the most important problems facing the progress of online technical education. In this paper, we describe the development of a complete remote laboratory for the instruction of control engineering. Equipped with common industrial sensors and actuators, the system represents temperature and flow processes regulated with an industrial Programmable Logic Controller (PLC). Using local monitoring, we enable students to perform interactive real plant experimentation in control and automation without the overhead incurred in maintaining a full presence laboratory.
The Eduventures survey examined next-generation demand for online postsecondary education, assessing online experience, delivery mode and marketing channels preferences, and perceptions of price, quality and location, identifying key takeaways in each area.
Drawing on the University of Massachusetts experience in developing successful blended local programs, this paper suggests guiding principles that include mission-driven responsiveness to local contexts and partnerships; using low-cost marketing strategies available through local relationships and brand; attending to students' preferences for blending face-to-face and online services and instruction throughout the college experience; supporting faculty in working with partners to develop local blended programs; and providing activities that anchor students to the campus and program.
The City University of New York is taking a new, local approach to online instruction: offering an online baccalaureate for degree completers, designed for NYC students who have "stopped out" in good academic standing and need the "any time" flexibility of asynchronous learning to finish the degree. What is especially distinctive about this online program is its goal of access for local students, its core constituency and mission. Though CUNY is addressing a local problem, online access to higher education for local students may address nation-wide problems with rates of degree completion and progress towards completion. As more institutions provide online instruction, localness may well be the key to access and timely completion for local students, with time and not distance being the key obstacle it overcomes.