Distance learning has broken into the mainstream of higher education. But at the campus level, many colleges still know precious little about how best to organize online programs, whether those programs are profitable, and how they compare to face-to-face instruction in terms of quality.
That is what Kenneth C. Green, director of the Campus Computing Project, concludes in a study released today in conjunction with the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications.
The study, based on a survey of senior officials at 182 U.S. public and private nonprofit colleges, found that 45 percent of respondents said their institution did not know whether their online programs were making money. Forty-five percent said they had reorganized the management of their online programs in the last two years, with 52 percent anticipating a reshuffling within the next two years. And while a strong majority of the administrators surveyed said they believed the quality of online education was comparable to classroom learning, about half said that at their colleges the professors are in charge of assessing whether that is true.