Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Computers in Education
The Internet Will Not Replace Us
This paper examines the trends in online programs and enrollment to support the argument that online programs greatest growth potential is for place bound students looking to continue their education (working professionals). The authors also survey the literature to explain the reasons why students choose online versus face-to-face education, concluding that the motivations for online learning are unique and pose no threat to long term sustenance of physical universities.
Recent studies have shown a rise in online higher education. In a series of studies by Allen and Seaman, overall institutional enrollment was found to increase on average by 2.5% per year. (Allen & Seaman, 2014) During this same time period (2002 - 2012), online enrollment increased on average by 16.1% per year demonstrating that online methods of education are growing at a feaster pace than traditional face-to-face education. (Allen & Seaman, 2014) While distance enrollments showed less of an increase during 2013 and 2014 (6.1% and 7% respectively), the trend is still toward increasing distance education enrollment (Allen & Seaman, 2015; Allen & Seaman, 2016). By 2014, the majority of both public and private institutions have online course offerings with approximately two-thirds of higher education students having taken at least one online class. (Allen & Seaman, 2016).
Research indicates that the reasons students choose to take courses via online learning has consistently been attributable to the following motivating factors (Kowalski, et al, 2014):
Necessity (including geographical distance from a face to face alternative (Dutton, et al, 2002), demands of work and family life (Jaggers, 2014), and no face-to-face offering available that fits their current needs (Fox, 2017) (Jarvie-Eggart, 2017) Convenience and Flexibility (Kowalski, et al, 2014) (including the ability to schedule course work around the demands of work and family life (Noel-Levitz, Inc., 2014), the ability to pursue a degree while working full time, and no need to commute to campus and the difficulty and expense that incurs [Hannons, et al, 2017]) (Jarvie-Eggart, 2017)
Although a 2012 national survey revealed that the top reasons first year college students choose to attend college is to get a better job and make more money (Pryor et al, 2012), data from the past year showed that students were increasingly attending college to pursue interests and ideas (Eagan et. Al., 2017). When it comes to actually selecting a school, campus visits play an increasing role in the selection process for first year students (Eagan et. Al., 2017). Not only can first year students not visit online schools in person, they are not mentioned in most selection processes as an alternative. Although small populations of undergraduates may need online education (due to being place bound by military service or life stage), traditional undergraduates students may not to have the geographic and time restrictions (work and families) which attract students to online programs.
References: Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. Grade change. Tracking Online Education in the United States. Babson Survey Research Group and Quahog Research Group, LLC. 2014. [Online]. Available: http://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/gradechange.pdf [Accessed Oct. 10, 2017]
Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. Grade level. Tracking Online Education in the United States. 2015. [Online]. Available: https://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/gradelevel.pdf [Accessed Oct. 10, 2017]
Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. Online Report Card: Tracking Online Education in the United States. Babson Survey Research Group. 2016. [Online]. Available: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED572777.pdf [Accessed Oct. 10, 2017]
Clinefelter, D. L. & Aslanian, C. B. Online college students 2016: Comprehensive data on demands and preferences. Louisville, KY. July 2016. The Learning House, Inc. 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.learninghouse.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/OCS-2016-Report.pdf [Accessed Oct. 10, 2017]
Dutton, J, Dutton, M, and Perry, J. “How do online students differ from lecture students?”. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks,Volume 6, Issue 1 – July 2002. [Online]. Available:http://olc.onlinelearningconsortium.org/sites/default/files/v6n1_dutton_1.pdf [Accessed Oct. 10, 2017]
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Jarvie-Eggart, M. E., & Kemppainen, A., & Freeman, T. M. (2018, June), The Internet Will Not Replace Us Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/31118
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