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ERIC Number: ED530102
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Mar
Pages: 28
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-0-9766-7149-2
Making the Grade: Online Education in the United States, 2006. Midwestern Edition
Allen, I. Elaine; Seaman, Jeff
Sloan Consortium (NJ1)
"Making the Grade: Online Education in the United States, 2006--Midwestern Edition" is based on data collected for the fourth annual report on the state of online education in U.S. Higher Education. Supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and based on responses from over 500 Midwestern colleges and universities, this year's study, like last year's, is aimed at answering some of the fundamental questions about the nature and extent of online education: (1) Has the growth in online enrollments begun to plateau?; (2) Who offers online courses and programs?; (3) Is online education becoming part of long-term strategy for most schools?; (4) How do chief academic officers rate the quality of online courses?; and (5) What barriers do academic leaders see to widespread adoption of online learning? The survey analysis is based on a comprehensive sample of active, degree-granting institutions of higher education in the eleven member states of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact. For the past several years, online enrollments have been growing substantially faster than the overall higher education student body. However, last year's national study, while reporting the same numeric increase as the previous year, had a lower percentage growth rate. There has been no leveling of the growth rate of online enrollments; institutions of higher education report record online enrollment growth on both a numeric and a percentage basis. There is some evidence that online education appeals to a different type of student from those who participate in face-to-face instruction. Online students tend to be older and often hold additional employment and family responsibilities, as compared to the more traditional student. The distribution of online students by level of study is similar to that of the general higher education student body, but the mix of schools at which they are enrolled is not. Previous reports in this series have shown a very uneven distribution of online course and program offerings by type of institution. Public institutions and the largest institutions of all types have consistently been at the forefront of online offerings. This year's results show no major changes from previous patterns. The same types of institutions are at the forefront of online offerings. The first national study in this series found that a majority of chief academic officers rated the learning outcomes for online education "as good as or better" than those for face-to-face instruction. The following year's report displayed similar results. By an increasing margin, most chief academic officers believe that the quality of online instruction is equal to or superior to that of face-to-face learning. Previous studies have identified a number of areas of concern for the potential growth of online offerings and enrollments. Academic leaders have commented that their faculty often don't accept the value of online learning and that it takes more time and effort to teach an online course. Problem areas identified in previous years are still seen as areas of concern among academic leaders. Additional tables are appended. [For related reports, "Making the Grade: Online Education in the United States, 2006" (ED529697) and "Making the Grade: Online Education in the United States, 2006. Southern Edition" (ED530101).]
Sloan Consortium. P.O. Box 1238, Newburyport, MA 01950. Tel: 781-583-7561; Fax: 888-898-6209; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Authoring Institution: Sloan Consortium