Online Report Card: Tracking Online Education in the United States

Data

MOOCs Higher education Attitudes/Benefits/Challenges

The number of institutions that report that they either have or are planning a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) has remained relatively steady. In 2012 12.0% of institutions fell in this category (2.6% offering a MOOC, and 9.4% with plans to offer them). In 2013, the number increased to 14.3% (5.0% offering a MOOC and 9.3% planning). Results for 2014 saw this drop a bit to 13.6% (8.0% offering a MOOC and 5.6% planning). This year’s results follow this same pattern; 11.3% reporting that they have a MOOC, and an additional 2.3% are planning one, for the same 13.6% total as last year.

While the proportion of institutions that have or are planning MOOCs has remained stable, the remaining higher education institutions seem to be deciding against adding a MOOC. This may be because of their belief that MOOCs are not sustainable. We previously asked all institutions — those with MOOCS and those without — if they thought that MOOCs were a sustainable method for offering online courses. The number of institutions saying that they believed MOOCs to be sustainable fell from 28.3% in 2012 to only 16.3% in 2014.

Only a small portion of higher education institutions are engaged with MOOCs, and adoption levels seem to be plateauing. The total number of institutions reporting a current or planned MOOC remained stable in 2015. While the fraction of institutions engaged in MOOCs may be relatively small, these does not mean that the number of students impacted is also small. With many MOOCs having enrollments in the thousands, or even higher, the number of students touched by a MOOC can easily match that of those taking distance education courses.

Sample Size:
Information from the National Center for Educational Statistics’ IPEDS database and survey data collected by the Babson Survey Research Group
Sample Description:

The sample for this analysis is comprised of all active, degree-granting institutions of higher education in the United States that are open to the public. The data for this report uses information from the National Center for Educational Statistics’ IPEDS database and survey data collected by the Babson Survey Research Group. The most current IPEDS database was released in December 2015, but covers results for fall 2014. The Babson Survey Research Group was collected in December 2015 and refers to fall 2015. Data for prior years used for comparisons also includes data collected College Board. The College Board included questions for this report series as part of its extensive data collection effort for its Annual Survey of Colleges.

Online learning Higher education Usage: Current and Past

Changes in Distance Enrollments

The 2012 to 2014 growth represents 403,420 additional distance students over this two-year time period. […] The growth in the number of distance education students is all the more impressive given that overall enrollments in higher education have been shrinking during this same time period. Overall enrollments decreased by 248,091 students from 2012 to 2013, and then by a further 173,540 from 2013 to 2014. The combination of shrinking overall enrollments and growing distance enrollments means that the number of student not taking any distance education course has decreased even faster, losing 434,236 students from 2012 to 2013 and 390,815 from 2013 to 2014. This translates into 825,051 fewer students not taking any distance courses in 2014 than two years earlier in 2012.

Sample Size:
Information from the National Center for Educational Statistics’ IPEDS database and survey data collected by the Babson Survey Research Group
Sample Description:

The sample for this analysis is comprised of all active, degree-granting institutions of higher education in the United States that are open to the public. The data for this report uses information from the National Center for Educational Statistics’ IPEDS database and survey data collected by the Babson Survey Research Group. The most current IPEDS database was released in December 2015, but covers results for fall 2014. The Babson Survey Research Group was collected in December 2015 and refers to fall 2015. Data for prior years used for comparisons also includes data collected College Board. The College Board included questions for this report series as part of its extensive data collection effort for its Annual Survey of Colleges.

Online learning Higher education Attitudes/Benefits/Challenges

Is Online Learning Strategic?

The long-term pattern in the proportion of institutions that agreed with the statement “Online education is critical to the long-term strategy of my institution” has seen small year-to-year increases in the proportion believing that it was critical for their long-term strategy, a steady decline among those who were neutral, and a consistent group of holdouts that disagreed. This pattern was upset in 2013, where the results contained both the largest-ever decrease in the proportion that agreed that online education is critical for their strategy, and the first-ever increase in the rate of those saying that they are neutral on the topic. Results for 2014, however, reflected a return to the historic pattern.

Results for 2015 mirror those for 2013, with the largest-ever drop in the proportion of institutions reporting that online education is critical to their long-term strategy: from 70.8% in 2014, to 63.3% in 2015. The proportion that disagreed with this statement increased from 8.6% in 2014 to 13.7% in 2015.

Sample Size:
Information from the National Center for Educational Statistics’ IPEDS database and survey data collected by the Babson Survey Research Group
Sample Description:

The sample for this analysis is comprised of all active, degree-granting institutions of higher education in the United States that are open to the public. The data for this report uses information from the National Center for Educational Statistics’ IPEDS database and survey data collected by the Babson Survey Research Group. The most current IPEDS database was released in December 2015, but covers results for fall 2014. The Babson Survey Research Group was collected in December 2015 and refers to fall 2015. Data for prior years used for comparisons also includes data collected College Board. The College Board included questions for this report series as part of its extensive data collection effort for its Annual Survey of Colleges.

Sample: 

The sample for this analysis is comprised of all active, degree-granting institutions of higher education in the United States that are open to the public. The data for this report uses information from the National Center for Educational Statistics’ IPEDS database and survey data collected by the Babson Survey Research Group. The most current IPEDS database was released in December 2015, but covers results for fall 2014. The Babson Survey Research Group was collected in December 2015 and refers to fall 2015. Data for prior years used for comparisons also includes data collected College Board. The College Board included questions for this report series as part of its extensive data collection effort for its Annual Survey of Colleges.

Citation: 

Babson Survey Research Group and Quahog Research Group, LLC. (2016). Online report card: Tracking online education in the United States. Retrieved from www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/onlinereportcard.pdf

Publish Year: 
2016