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ERIC Number: ED535214
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jun
Pages: 55
Abstractor: As Provided
Conflicted: Faculty and Online Education, 2012
Allen, I. Elaine; Seaman, Jeff
Babson Survey Research Group
This study focuses on attitudes and practices related to all aspects of online education--including views on the quality of learning outcomes, issues of institutional support, and institutional rewards. Even as online enrollments have grown exponentially, attitudes about online learning have remained conflicted. The study is based on the results of two related, but separate, surveys. The first is a nationally representative sample of higher education faculty members who are teaching at least one course during the current academic year. The second focused on academic administrators--in particular those responsible for academic technology at their institutions. Faculty report being more pessimistic than optimistic about online learning. Academic technology administrators, on the other hand, are extremely optimistic about the growth of online learning, with over 80 percent reporting that they view it with "more excitement than fear." Professors, over all, cast a skeptical eye on the learning outcomes for online education. Nearly two-thirds say they believe that the learning outcomes for an online course are inferior or somewhat inferior to those for a comparable face-to-face course. Most of the remaining faculty members report that the two have comparable outcomes. Even among those with a strong vested interest in online education--faculty members who are currently teaching online courses--considerable concern remains about the quality of the learning outcomes. Faculty members with a greater exposure to online education have a less pessimistic view than their peers. Instructors at schools with online offerings (either online courses or programs) are more positive than do those at institutions with no such offerings. Faculty with direct online teaching experience have, by far, the most positive views towards online education. About one-third of faculty members report they think that their institution is pushing too much instruction online, compared to fewer than 10 percent of administrators. Over all, fewer than one half of all professors believe that their institution has good tools in place to assess the quality of in-person instruction, while only one-quarter say the institution has good tools for assessing online instruction. Yet on the most basic question asked of faculty at institutions with online offerings--have you recommended an online course to a student or advisee?--60 percent of faculty reported that they had. Among those who teach online the rate is 87 percent. Among those with no online teaching, it is 49 percent. Nearly one half of the faculty who believe that learning outcomes in online education are inferior to those for face-to-face instruction are still recommending online courses for their students. Appended are: (1) Chart Data; (2) Characteristics of the Sample; and (3) Additional Tables. [This paper was written with Doug Lederman and Scott Jaschik. This paper was a joint project with Inside Higher Ed. Funding for this paper was provided by CourseSmart, Deltak, Pearson and Sonic Foundry.]
Babson Survey Research Group. Babson College, 231 Forest Street, Babson Park, MA 02457. Tel: 909-278-7389; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Babson Survey Research Group; Inside Higher Ed