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What the Public, Presidents Think About Online Learning

UPDATE: An infographic posted on The Atlantic website on August 18 provides some statistics that present additional context for the survey results below regarding views about online learning ( In particular:

  • Online learning is growing at a rate 14 times that of traditional postsecondary education.
  • By 2020, it is projected that almost all courses will involve blended learning.
  • "By 2014, 81% of postsecondary students will take some or all of their classes online."

The Pew Research Center released a report on Sunday, August 28, comparing the findings from surveys it conducted of the general public and college/university presidents regarding online learning (the latter being conducted in conjunction with the Chronicle of Higher Education). ( Some truly interesting data points emerged, especially regarding presidents' views of online learning's quality in relation to traditional instruction. However, the results on public and presidential views regarding online learning's quality as compared to traditional instruction indicate that much work remains to be done to establish comparability in the minds of both populations.

  • While 51% of college and university presidents responding to the Pew/Chronicle survey expressed the view that online courses are of equal value to face-to-face (F2F) courses, only 29% of respondents to the Pew general public survey shared that view.
  • Fifteen percent (15%) of college presidents responding to the Pew/Chronicle survey report that most of their current undergraduates have taken an online course, and 50% predict that within 10 years most of their undergraduate student population will take an online course.
  • Forty-six percent (46%) of the Pew public survey respondents who have graduated from college in the last 10 years report having taken an online course.
  • Of all adults in the Pew public survey who have taken an online course, 39% indicated that online learning's value is equal to that of a F2F course.


Online learning is not an efficient learning method for me. I am always distracted by other things in my computer

The current online teaching in higher education combines both traditional teaching styles with advanced technology.  Online courses require students to particiation in in depth discussions with all of their classmates and instructors with the use of discussion forums, student lounges, and doc sharing.  In one click, one can view numerous discussions and have immediate access to a complete library filled with research, scholarly journals, dissertations to view, texts, media, etc.  Students are learning, experiencing quality education, and at the same time, learning how current high technological can be used in higher education, aligned with learning, sharing, and globalization.  Online learning has no boundaries! Not understanding how the following statement is still being said: "the results on public and presidential views regarding online learning's quality as compared to traditional instruction indicate that much work remains to be done to establish comparability in the minds of both populations". Because of high tech, administrators must continue the work to include online teaching for their traditional campuses.  The survival of their institution is an issue to discuss now.


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