By Lillian Williams
Four researchers at Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, NC., conducted the study. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the study urged more online courses specifically in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
A recent development, however, points to a significant move into online education at a major HBCU.
Howard University, located in Washington D.C., is partnering with the Pearson learning company to expand its online programs starting in fall 2014, and to create up to 25 online degree programs over the next few years. That announcement came last week.
“This new initiative directly supports the University’s strategic priority to enhance teaching, learning and research,” said Howard provost and chief academic officer Wayne A.I. Frederick.
The online courses and programs will enable Howard to reach student populations who cannot study at the Washington D.C. campus, the provost said in a statement.
“It builds faculty capacity to enhance our instruction delivery to meet the needs of the 21st century learner as well as our reach beyond our Washington-based campus to the world through our new partnership with Pearson.” Read the entire statement here.
As cited in an earlier blog post, a major survey, “Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States,” shows the number of students at U.S. institutions taking at least one online course has surpassed 6.7 million. This survey, released in January, was conducted by Babson Survey Research Group in collaboration with the College Board. It’s based upon responses from more than 2800 U.S. colleges and universities.
Other significant findings of this survey include:
- About 9.4 percent of U.S. colleges report that MOOCs (massive open line courses) are in the planning stages at their schools, but only 2.6 percent of higher education institutions currently have a MOOC. (For background on MOOCs–a special sector of online education–see an earlier post of this blog.)
- Of the academic leaders surveyed, 77 percent view learning outcomes of online education as the same, or superior, to those in face-to-face courses.
- About faculty attitudes, however, the proportion of chief academic officers who believe faculty accept the value and legitimacy of online education has not increased – it stands at only 30.2 percent.
- The percentage of chief academic leaders who believe online learning is critical to their long-term strategy is at a new high– 69.1 percent.
- Lower retention rates for online courses remain an issue: The majority of chief academic officers believe that lackluster retention rates for online courses present a challenge for growth in online education.
Read the entire survey here.