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ERIC Number: ED569215
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Feb
Pages: 23
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 62
High-Tech or High-Touch? Online Learning and Independent Higher Education. Innovations in Teaching and Learning. Research Brief 5
Katz, Philip M.
Council of Independent Colleges
Independent colleges and universities are cautious adopters of online education for undergraduate students. These institutions seek to balance a tradition of student-focused pedagogy in face-to-face settings and faculty wariness of online courses against the promise of lower instructional costs, changing student expectations, and the potential for better student learning outcomes. Research shows that online learning can be at least as effective as traditional classroom instruction, but many faculty members remain skeptical about the quality of online courses. The gap between faculty members and academic leaders with regard to perceived quality represents a significant barrier to broader adoption of online education. Although online education may have the potential to reduce instructional costs at the undergraduate level, the evidence that it actually does remains inconclusive. The development of online courses often requires a greater investment of time and resources than the development of traditional courses. For smaller independent institutions committed to relatively low student-faculty ratios, cost savings from online education are more likely to materialize after courses are offered multiple times or when institutions share online courses. Barriers to the adoption of online education at independent colleges and universities include uncertain cost models, concerns about decreasing the ranks of full-time faculty members and outsourcing instruction, and the high cost of supporting and maintaining a sophisticated technology infrastructure and instructional platforms. [This brief was prepared by the CIC Project on the Future of Independent Higher Education.]
Council of Independent Colleges. 1 Dupont Circle NW Suite 320, Washington DC 20036-1142. Tel: 202-466-7230; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Lumina Foundation for Education; Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America - College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF)
Authoring Institution: Council of Independent Colleges
Identifiers - Location: Colorado; Connecticut; Florida; Illinois; Kentucky; Missouri; New Hampshire; New York; Ohio; Pennsylvania; South Carolina; Vermont; Virginia