The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday May 27th

Online enrollment on the rise nationwide

With entire degree programs being cut from UNC-system schools, members of the UNC-system Board of Governors are pushing for online education to help schools cope.

Two national studies — the 2010 Sloan Consortium report and the Managing Online Education Survey — detail the impact of the economy on rising online enrollments. The University system’s online demographics show that online education is comparably on the rise, but could be affected by budget cuts.

Sloan Consortium report

*?The number of students taking online courses nationwide has increased from 1.6 million in 2002 to 5.58 million in 2009.

  • Of the 19 million full-time and part-time students enrolled in all colleges and universities in the U.S., 29.3 percent were enrolled in at least one online course.

*?About 75 percent of surveyed institutions reported that the economic crisis increased demand for online courses and programs. Only half of those institutions reported an increased demand for face-to-face instruction as a result of the economic crisis.

*?Online course enrollment increased by 21 percent in fall 2009, compared with a less than 2 percent increase in higher education enrollment.

*?While many institutions make money on online education, others are unsure of profitability. About 45 percent of the institutions reported not knowing whether they made profits from online education programs this past academic year.

Managing Online Education

*?About half — 51 percent — of the survey participants reported that faculty who teach online classes must complete a mandatory training program, which averages 22 hours.

*?About 56 percent of the respondents in the survey thought budget cuts hindered their ability to implement online education programs.

*?About 73 percent agree or strongly agree that faculty resistance to teaching online courses also hinders schools’ ability to implement online programs.

UNC system online education

*?The total online student credit hours taken in the UNC system were 439,628 in the 2008-09 year, a 45 percent increase from 2006-07.

*?The online credit hours taken by students away from campus totaled 236,889 in the 2008-09 year.

*?The total number of students enrolled in online courses was 74,006 in the 2008-09 year.

  • There are 62 bachelor’s programs offered online, compared to about 100 masters and doctoral programs, said Alisa Chapman, the associate vice president for academic planning and University-school programs of the UNC system.
  • Alan Mabe, the senior vice president for academic affairs for the UNC system, said budget cuts might slow down the expansion of online education.

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