Study: More Than 6.7M Students Take An Online Course

The number of students taking at least one online course has now surpassed the 6.7 million mark, while higher education adoption of massive open online courses remains low, according to an online survey by the Babson Survey Research Group.

“The rate of growth in online enrollments remains extremely robust, even as overall higher education enrollments have shown a decline,” said study co-author Jeff Seaman, co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group.

Over 6.7 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2011 term, an increase of 570,000 students over the previous year, according to the study, which adds that 32 percent of higher education students now take at least one course online.

Yet only 2.6 percent of higher education institutions have a MOOC, with another 9.4 percent reporting that MOOCs are in the planning stages.

“Institutional opinions on MOOCs are mixed,” said study co-author I. Elaine Allen. “Some praise them for their ability to learn about online pedagogy and attract new students, but concerns remain about whether they are a sustainable method for offering courses.”

A whopping 77 percent of academic leaders rate the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face classes.

The proportion of chief academic leaders who say online learning is critical to their long-term strategy is at a new high of 69.1 percent, according to the study, which is based on responses from more than 2,800 academic leaders.


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