ERIC Number: ED470576
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
The Promise and the Reality of Distance Education. Research Center Update.
Wilner, Abby; Lee, John
Experience has shown that many large-scale distance education efforts fail, especially because of lack of student acceptance resulting in low enrollment and higher costs. Some ventures failed because they could not operate a corporate culture within a university environment. Pure for-profit programs, such as the University of Phoenix have been successful, as have some nonprofit programs that have taken a slower, less flashy approach to distance education. Among these is the University of Maryland University College, which enrolls 26,500 students worldwide. Online classes take more faculty time than do live classrooms. To compensate for the lack of interaction, many online programs promise to respond to student e-mails within 24 hours, something that has caused some professors to avoid distance education. Distance education has proven to be no cheaper than a traditional education, and it is not likely to get any cheaper. Institutions are realizing that distance education does not provide an easy, extra source of revenue or a cost-cutting measure. All of these problems should not hide the fact that there have been collaborations between universities and businesses that are attractive and beneficial to employers, employees, and colleges. The more successful distance education programs seem to serve a specific need such as enhancing technical skills or serving students who would otherwise not be able to enroll in college. (Contains 25 references.) (SLD)
Descriptors: Access to Education, Costs, Distance Education, Educational Finance, Enrollment, Higher Education, Online Courses, Program Effectiveness
For full text: http://www.nea.org/he.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Education Association, Washington, DC. Higher Education Research Center.