December 17, 2012

College Presidents Are Bigger Believers than Public in Online Classes

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College presidents and the public are 22 points apart on whether online courses offer comparable value to classroom courses.

As online college courses have become increasingly prevalent, the general public and college presidents offer different assessments of their educational value. Just three-in-ten American adults (29%) say a course taken online provides an equal educational value to one taken in a classroom, according to a March 2011 survey. By contrast, fully half of college presidents (51%) say online courses provide the same value.

More than three-quarters of the nation’s colleges and universities in the survey offered online classes. About one-in-four college graduates (23%) have taken a course online, according to those in the general public who were surveyed. Among those who graduated in the past decade, the figure rises to 46%.

Adults who have taken a course online have a somewhat more positive view of the value of this learning format: 39% say a course taken online provides the same educational value as one taken in person, a view shared by only 27% of those who have not taken an online course.

College presidents see the trend towards online courses continuing. While 15% report that more than half of their current undergraduate student body has taken at least one course online, 50% predict that 10 years from now a majority of their students will be taking classes online. Read More