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WWC Quick Review: "Interactive Online Learning on Campus: Testing MOOCs and Other Platforms in Hybrid Formats in the University System of Maryland" - Due to cost savings possible with interactive online learning, researchers looked at whether students participating in online courses performed as well as students in face-to-face classes. They compared seven undergraduate classes and found students in both types of classes performed equally well, and that students in hybrid classes answered more exam questions correctly than students in traditional courses. A Quick Review determined the study met What Works Clearinghouse standards with reservations. (What Works Clearinghouse, August 2014)...

Grade Change: Tracking Online Education in the United States - A look at online education in higher education reports that there was a small drop in the proportion of chief academic leaders who said online learning was critical to their long-term strategy. Institutions that do not have online offerings account for all of the decrease while those who offer online courses were as positive in 2013 as they were in 2012. The number of students taking at least one online class increased by more than 411,000 to 7.1 million, a growth rate that was lowest in a decade. (I. Elaine Allen and Jeff Seaman, Babson Survey Research, Pearson and Sloan-C, January 2014)...

Not Sold Yet: What Employers and Community College Students Think About Online Education - Though perceived value of postsecondary online classes has improved over the last two years, most employers still prefer job applicants with traditional degrees from average schools over applicants with an online degree from a top university. Most community college students believe online classes take more self discipline than in-person classes, and they are split on whether learning in person is greater or the same as online. Many community college students wish they could take fewer online classes than they do. (Public Agenda, September 2013) ...

Examining the Effectiveness of Online Learning within a Community College System: An Instrumental Variable Approach - In this study of community college students taking online classes compared to face-to-face course delivery, online students didn't fare well in terms of persistence and grade. Authors suggest policymakers and college administrators may need to improve the quality of online learning before enacting policies that would incentivize expansion of online enrollments. (Di Xu and Shanna Smith Jaggars, Community College Research Center, April 2012)...

State U Online - While for-profit higher education systems quickly embraced online coursework, public two- and four-year institutions were slower to see online as a way to grow enrollment and revenue, contribute to economic development and fulfill original missions. Five steps can launch a successful online state system, according to the author: Create a clearinghouse of state institutions so all students can enter through one portal to see what's available, purchase shared contracts, share provision of student services, share credit and credentialing, share credentials beyond state borders.(Rachel Fishman, New America Foundation and Education Sector, April 2013)...

A 'Disruptive' Look at Competency-Based Education: How the Innovative Use of Technology Will Transform the College Experience - This brief considers whether new competency-based education initiatives such as free, high-quality online college courses can truly disrupt the current model of postsecondary education by being effectively taken to scale. The first section provides a short primer on competency-based education in postsecondary education. Next the authors introduce the four elements of disruptive innovation theory, a business theory that considers how technology can change an organization, and use these elements as a guide to study education initiatives that could promote disruptive innovation. The brief is concluded with a number of recommendations for policymakers on how to facilitate disruptive innovation to transform higher education. (Center for American Progress, June 2012)...

Higher Education: Use of New Data Could Help Improve Oversight of Distance Education - This Government Accountability Office report found that the Education Department does not know which colleges enroll the most students through distance-education programs or which programs receive the most federal financial aid. As a result, the department is unable to focus its monitoring on the highest-risk programs. The report recommends that the department develop a plan to use new data that NCES is collecting to guide its oversight efforts. (U.S. Government Accountability office, November 2011)...

Learning at a Distance: Undergraduate Enrollment in Distance Education Courses and Degree Programs - This report investigates participation in distance education using the most current nationally representative student-reported data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics. The data comes from the three most recent administrations of the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study. This report allows for exploration of how participation in these courses varies with student characteristics. (Alexandria Walton Radford and Thomas Weko, National Center for Education Statistics, October 2011)...

Online and Hybrid Course Enrollment and Performance in Washington State Community and Technical Colleges - This report looks at enrollment patterns and academic outcomes in online, hybrid and face-to-face courses among students who enrolled in Washington state community and technical colleges in the fall of 2004. The students were tracked for nearly five years. Given the important of online learning current system supports for online learning should be bolstered and strengthened in order to improve completion rates among online learners. Specific recommendations are made. (Community College Research Center, March 2011)...

Online Learning: Does It Help Low-Income and Underprepared Students? - Educators are optimistic about the potential of online learning to promote access to college by reducing the cost and time of commuting as well as allow the student to study on a schedule that works for them. This paper examines the literature for evidence regarding the impact of online learning and found online learning may hinder progression for low-income and underprepared students. The author goes on to explore why students might struggle in these courses and discusses current access barriers to online education. The study ends with suggestions on how public policy and institutional practice could be changed to allow online learning to better meet its potential for these students. (Shanna Jaggars, Community College Research Center-Teachers College, Columbia University, January 2011)...

Speeding Toward a Slowdown? - According to this report, online college enrollments grew by 21% to 5.6 million last fall, the biggest percentage increase in several years. At the same time, the authors say online growth might begin to slow down in the near future since the biggest drivers of enrollment growth face budget challenges and stricter recruitment oversight from the federal government. Nearly one million more students took an online course in fall 2009 than in the previous year. (I. Elaine Allen and Jeff Seamon, Sloan Consortium, November 2010)...

Trends in eLearning: Tracking the Impact of eLearning at Community Colleges - Distance education survey results for 2009 strives to identify relevant data and ensure its timely tabulation and distribution. The distance education landscape is changing rapidly and the need for relevant data and information has never been more important. It is new ground for college administrators being asked to support new staffing, space and budget requests often with a fixed or shrinking budget. Even though it is new ground the college administrators want to ensure they are making the right decisions that will benefit their students, faculty, staff and greater community. (Instructional Technology Council, March 2010)...

Aligning State Approval and Regional Accreditation for Online Postsecondary Institutions: A National Strategy - The Presidents' Forum brings together a broad spectrum of institutions that have the common attribute of facing growing challenges to college access. The Forum has invited a task force to define and devise strategies to address and ameliorate college access concerns. This paper presents the work of this task force, exploring the background and proposing strategies that might simplify and improve the regulatory process. (President's Forum, November 2009)...


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