Online Education Critical to Higher Education, Survey SaysORLANDO, Fla.The 2004 Sloan Survey of “Online Learning, Entering the Mainstream: The Quality and Extent of Online Education in the United States, 2003 and 2004,” shows that online enrollments continue to grow at rates faster than for the broader student population and higher education entities expect the rate of growth to continue increasing.The survey by Babson College and The Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) concludes that the expected average growth rate for online students for 2004 is 24.8 percent, up from 19.8 percent in 2003. “Last year’s online enrollment projection has been realized. There are 2.6 million students learning online this semester and there is no evidence enrollment has reached a plateau,” says Jeff Seaman, chief information officer and director of operations at Sloan-C. The second annual survey is based on responses from over 1,100 colleges and universities and represents the state of online education in U.S. higher education.“Online learning is indeed entering the mainstream,” says Dr. Frank Mayadas, president of Sloan-C and program director, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “Last year we found that a majority of academic leaders said online learning was just as good as traditional, face-to-face classroom instruction. This year’s results confirm the finding and show that schools offering online courses believe their online students are at least as satisfied as those actually in the classroom.”The majority of all schools (53.6 percent) agree that online education is critical to their long-term strategy. Among public and private for-profit institutions almost two-thirds (over 65 percent) agree. The study was supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and conducted by the Sloan Center for OnLine Education at Olin, Babson Colleges and The Sloan Consortium. The survey can be downloaded at <www.sloan-c.org/resources/survey.asp>.
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