Students are spending less time in the classroom, the physical classroom that is. For the ninth straight year, enrollment in online classes is on the rise, according to a new survey from the Babson Survey Research Group.
The survey found that 6.1 million students are enrolled in at least one online course. It also found an average growth increase of 10 percent several years in row.
“The rate of growth in online enrollments is ten times that of the rate in all higher education,” study co-author I. Elaine Allen, co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group and Professor of Statistics & Entrepreneurship at Babson College, said in a statement. “While growth rates have declined somewhat from previous years, we see no evidence that a dramatic slowdown in online enrollments is on the horizon.”
Additionally, the study found that universities offering a complete online education are experiencing an increase in student population. School officials and academic leaders attribute this to student satisfaction and the growing belief that an online classroom is just as good as a physical one.
Public opinion disagrees. According to a survey by the Pew Foundation, less than 30 percent of those surveyed agreed that the quality of an online education is the equivalent to that of a traditional one.
In my opinion, the reason why online enrollment is up is because college students look for the convenience that the Internet offers, not the quality of their education. I also think there is common a misconception that online courses are easier than traditional ones. Either way, students are not choosing online courses because they believe it will be an equal learning experience.
Furthermore, I believe that the physical classroom can never be replaced. I value the actual presence of a teacher, and I think a physical classroom forces students to engage with their teachers and classmates in a way that exceeds discussion board interaction.
Via Inside Higer Ed
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