Managing Online Education

Online Education Programs Marked by Rising Enrollments,
Unsure Profits,
Organizational Transitions,
Higher Fees,
Tech Training for Faculty.

Those are the headlines from MANAGING ONLINE EDUCATION: The 2009 WCET-Campus Computing Project Survey of Online Education from October.

Some results are unsurprising: "Enrollments are up and rising, profits are often uncertain, and organizational arrangements are in transition.

Some are surprising: "The new survey data suggest that students enrolled in online programs may pay higher fees than their on-campus counterparts..."

And other results seem like they might have come from surveys done years ago: "Many campuses have mandatory training on their faculty before sending them “into the web” to teach online courses, and that quality still looms as a large question for online education programs."

What is clear is that campus officials expect enrollments in their online programs to continue to rise in the coming years.

Fully 94 percent of the survey respondents – typically the senior campus officer responsible for online or distance education programs – report enrollment gains in their online programs between 2006 and 2009; almost half (48 percent) report online enrollments rose by 15 percent or more during this period.
Similarly, asked about past year numbers (fall 2008 vs. fall 2009), 95 percent report rising enrollment in their online programs; almost two-fifths (38 percent) report a one-year gain in online enrollments of 15 percent or better.
Finally, when asked to project enrollments in their online programs over the next three years (2009-2011), 98 percent of the institutions participating in the survey affirm enrollment gains: almost half (47 percent) expect online enrollments grow by 15 percent or more over the next three years.

You can download download the survey executive summary, the handout and the video webcast of the WCET conference presentation at


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