Using a unique item included for the first time in the Sloan Consortium’s 2006 national survey of online learning, the authors analyze the reasons why higher-education institutions engage in online learning. Nine reasons are explored from contributing to extension efforts to returning a surplus. Eight of the nine reasons are found to vary in importance depending on the type of institution. Significant differences were found for associate-level institutions, for-profit institutions and large-enrollment institutions. The authors examine the findings for access and quality themes.
The complexity of equipment and cost of training are increasing annually for high tech semiconductor manufacturing. The article describes the process and methodology adopted by a team at Intel Corporation to convert a 12-day class on equipment training into a blended solution consisting of a 5-day Classroom experience, a 3-hour Web Based Training (WBT), and a Managed Preventive Maintenance (MPM) for On-the-Job Training (OJT). The results of the implementation demonstrated a 60% reduction of technician time away from the factory, benefits cost ratio of 2.27, and an ROI of 157%. Based on the results of evaluation, the authors concluded that blended learning is a viable and cost effective solution to provide support for equipment training at Intel from the perspective of the lead time to proficiency, ROI, and cost benefit analyses.
If higher education is a right, and distance education is the avenue for making higher education universally available, then who shall pay? This article asks (1) can state governments in the United States afford to fund this initiative and (2) can public higher education institutions in the U.S. fund this effort through capitalizing on cost-efficiencies of online learning? To answer the first question, data on funding of higher education by states are reviewed and a negative conclusion reached. To answer the second question, research on methods for achieving cost-efficiencies through online learning is reviewed and a cautious positive conclusion is reached, assuming states and institutions are willing to invest in the people and processes, and the time, effort, and will that make achieving efficiencies possible.
Within our nation’s public universities, online courses and programs have been increasing in number. This increase has led to the establishment of a National Commission on Online Learning through a collaborative effort between the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges. This commission intends to examine the core questions: how do college and university presidents and chancellors view online learning, what levels of information—both operational and policy-related—do they have about this developing field, and do they view it as a strategic asset or simply a newer means of teaching students?
Online learning is becoming an increasingly popular way for students to take courses and for faculty to teach, with the number of students taking at least one online course growing more than ten times as rapidly as the head count enrollments in post-secondary education. Clearly, the time is right to reframe a national dialogue amongst the leaders of our traditional universities and colleges about this asset.
Globalization is enabling transnational provision of post-secondary education. The leadership of higher education needs to attend to issues of quality and accreditation.
For minority serving institutions, policies that support learners call for decisions about equity, quality, cost, impact on national economic performance, and international global relationships.
An increasing number of students in the United States are involved in online education, according to research by the Sloan Foundation. By fall 2004, approximately 2.6 million students were estimated to be enrolled in at least one online course, an average growth rate of 24.8% from 2003–04; this figure represents a 5% increase over the 2002–03 growth rate . The consequence of this continuing expansion of the e-learning population is that policies with respect to student learning/academic programs will need to be updated or developed; and policies and practices with respect to existing student services, which often provide different support for onsite and distance students or minimize online services, will need to fit the realities of online learning. Given the technological world of the 21st century, it would behoove institutions if such policies applied to all students and services were online. What are the student areas which require policies for online learning to be effective? Issues in four areas seem to dominate: student learning, student services, 24/7 support and outsourcing, and multi-campus/system alignment. Each points to several policy issues, often inter-linked, that need discussion, decisions and implementation practices . The discussion below does not make a distinction between fully online or blended courses, unless noted.
To make online learning an integral part of higher education, institutions must determine the real costs of instruction and what tuition to charge based on these costs. Then the question is: Is this tuition bearable by the target population of potential students?
The seeds for this JALN edition focusing on policy were planted more than four years ago. It evolved soon after Sloan-C began its annual survey and reflected concerns that policy—at the institutional, state, and federal levels—was lagging behind the growth curve in online learning. In short, the policy constructs at all levels, with some exceptions, targeted traditional on campus and classroom instruction and, to many in the ALN community, seemed at odds with the changing landscape of higher education.
To support continuous improvement in the quality, scale and breadth of online education, the Sloan Consortium invites practitioners to share effective practices. This report synthesizes effective practices submitted by more than 150 Sloan-C organizations that are listed as of December 2008 in the Sloan-C Effective Practices online collection at http://www.sloanconsortium.org/effective. The synthesis includes links to the provider institutions and to detailed postings about practices.