By Jim Shimabukuro
I. Elaine Allen and Jeff Seaman, co-directors of The Babson Survey Research Group, Babson College, MA, announced this morning the release of their 2013 report, Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States.
- PDF version: Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States (pdf)
- Infographic for the report
- E-Book versions coming soon
The authors describe their tenth annual survey as an independent and “collaborative effort between the Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board” that is generously supported by Pearson and the Sloan Consortium.
In their announcement, they include some highlights:
- 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.
- Thirty-two percent of higher education students now take at least one course online.
- Seventy-seven percent of academic leaders rate the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face.
- Only 30.2 percent of chief academic officers believe that their faculty accept the value and legitimacy of online education — a rate that is lower than recorded in 2004.
After their 2011 report, I published a review, “Sloan-C’s Definition of ‘Online Course’ May Be Out of Sync with Reality” (22 Jan. 2012), in which I questioned the survey’s definition of “online course,” which, in my opinion, is impractical and ultimately self-defeating. The 2013 survey retains the same definition. The explanation also remains the same: “To ensure consistency the same definitions have been used for al[sic] ten years of these national reports.” Since the authors claim that their report is independent and that Sloan-C’s role is supportive, criticisms, if any, should be directed at Allen and Seaman. In their closing, they make this clear: “We welcome comments. Please let us know how we can improve the reports at firstname.lastname@example.org.”