1/02/2009

Distance Ed

A just released study on distance education by the National Center for Education Statistics reveals how pervasive distance education has become. Key findings, based on the 2006-07 academic year, include:
  • 66%of 2-year and 4-year Title IV degree-granting postsecondary institutions reported offering online, hybrid/blended online, or other distance education courses for any level or audience.
  • 65% of the institutions reported college-level credit-granting distance education courses,
  • 23% of the institutions reported noncredit distance education courses.
  • 61% of 2-year and 4-year institutions reported offering online courses,
  • 35% reported hybrid/blended courses,
  • 26% reported other types of college-level credit-granting distance education courses.
NCES estimates that in AY 2006-07 there were 12.2 million registrations in distance education courses.


What technologies are institutions using?  The report explored that as well, and found (so surprise!) asynchronous internet-based technologies are the most widely used technologies for instructional delivery of distance courses.

Why do institutions offer distance education courses?  Clearly the customer is driving the adoption of distance education methods.  NCES found:
the most common factors cited as affecting distance education decisions to a major extent were meeting student demand for flexible schedules, providing access to college for students who would otherwise not have access, making more courses available, and seeking to increase student enrollment.
Key to a successful disruptive innovation is focusing on addressing unmet needs in the market.  Clearly, distance ed provides a product and channel that makes course and other work accessible to numerous under served populations.

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