Enrollment in online education programs continued to grow for the ninth straight year in 2010, according to a study from The College Board and the Babson Survey Research Group.
More than six million students took at least one online college course during the fall 2010 term, amounting to 31% of all college students. This an increase of more than a half-million students from 2009, or a ten percent rise in enrollments.
Incredibly, 2010 saw the second-lowest increase in online enrollment since 2002!
These numbers represent online classes offered from all kinds of secondary education groups, including online arms of large and small state and private universities and colleges and for-profit institutions such as Anthem College Online. What’s remarkable is that in spite of longstanding suspicions and prejudices against online education by some faculty, online education remains attractive to students at these same institutions.
Still, we’re pleased to read that some faculty and many schools are starting to accept the reality that many, if not most, students can’t make that 10:30 AM class or 3:30 pm orientation. Because these students—probably like you−have lives that include family, jobs or both that just don’t mesh with the “traditional” college schedule.
What do students think? Most of them (about two-thirds) reported being equally satisfied with online and in-class learning. About 15% actually felt that online quality was “somewhat superior,” and slight more echoed this for in-class instruction. Students also felt equal satisfaction communicating with instructors online versus face-to-face, and slightly more online students felt that online supported different learning styles better than in-class education.
More online students had greater satisfaction interacting with their fellow students (40%) versus students in classrooms (32%). And online students were overwhelmingly positive about learning at their own pace (80%) versus just 20% of students in traditional classes.
What programs are students taking online? Online enrollment in programs for health professions is the fastest-growing among the groups surveyed, and enrollment into business programs remain steady after years of growth.
Interestingly, college chief academic officers (CAOs) interviewed for the study were still struggling with faculty over online education. Less than one-third believed their faculty accept the value and legitimacy of online education, and this hasn’t changed much in eight years. But, this attitude does vary by the type of school. Private “nonprofit” college and university faculty are least accepting of online education, according to their CAOs, who report that just four percent agree that online learning has value and legitimacy. (To be fair, about 46% were neutral on the question.) Eight percent of public university faculty had favorable views of online education, and almost 60% were neutral.
CAOs,however, agree that online education brings value to their schools. Since 2002, more of them see it as critical to their schools’ long-term strategy, rising from just under 50% in 2002 to about 66% in 2011. Why is this important? Because it gives students much-needed flexibility to earn a college degree.
Anthem College Online has been offering career-focused training and education online since 2003. Today, it offers programs in healthcare, business, and legal fields that lead to a diploma, associate of science, or bachelor of science degree depending on the program. Some programs also have degree-completion options as well.
Learn more about our online education that fits your schedule, not the other way around.