The gravity equation for on-line education

by on June 26, 2013 at 7:21 am in Education | Permalink

…about 70 percent of students turn to online programs based at colleges within 100 miles of their home.

Here is more.

Axa June 26, 2013 at 7:28 am

Because only 44% of students is aiming to a full online program. The rest looks for a online-classroom mix……….for now.

Brock June 26, 2013 at 8:22 am

This. The percentage will fall over time.

The percentage will also become harder to measure when parts of higher education are disintermediated. Majors that benefit from lab time will always need a lab nearby, but the lab may not be at the school they are (officially) getting credit from.

Bill June 26, 2013 at 9:58 am

+1 In addition, the quote that says students take online at an institution within 100 miles of their home does not say that they are taking it at the in person college they are currently, or hope to be, enrolled in to obtain the degree. The report should have shown what percentage were enrolled in the same institution where they may be taking in person classes, or hope to graduate from. Think of the kid enrolled in a community college taking an online class at larger institution, or vice versa.

What I think will be interesting is 1) recognition of transfer credits; 2) competency testing at the completion of an undergraduate degree;

derek June 26, 2013 at 10:19 am

Yes. The spouse of one of my co workers is taking an online course to upgrade her skills, and doing it locally. Two reasons. When she takes an exam, it is at the college. And the course is geared to train someone for this jurisdiction. Much of the course material would apply anywhere, but there are certain aspects that are jurisdiction specific.

Andrew June 26, 2013 at 8:05 am

I attended a smaller liberal arts university, which only pre-approved on-line classes for transfer credits from regional community colleges nearby. To avoid having to jump through more hoops to get special approval for a class (a nightmare of a process), I stuck to home.

Becky Hargrove June 26, 2013 at 8:10 am

Some of what is showing up in the stats is likely on line requirements that go with one’s classes at a nearby community college, for instance. Another factor: the further away one lives from a college (i.e. some rural areas) the greater the chances in the U.S. that people are still stuck with the dreaded dial-up, which doesn’t allow transmission of the classes online. I would think if the same breakdown were done for cities (instead of all areas) the geographic equation would not be the same.

Rahul June 26, 2013 at 9:52 am

Isn’t the percent of dial up users down to about 5% now? I doubt that’s a big factor.

Becky Hargrove June 26, 2013 at 10:02 am

One hopes it’s down to 5% now. I ran into problems several years ago with on line transmission, for classes being charged at full tuition. Thankfully I now live in an area with DSL.

Rahul June 26, 2013 at 9:00 am

“About a third of America’s 21 million college students are enrolled in at least one online class”

That statistic was surprising to me. Is this really true? 33% of students sounded a lot. Or are they including stuff like the mandatory IT-safety video crap I’m forced to view before I get a login at the Univ. under their definition of “online class”?

Andrew' June 26, 2013 at 9:12 am

There is certainly a range. I had computer training components to entry chemistry decade(s) ago. Unless you are an investor, I’m not sure why precision matters.

JWatts June 26, 2013 at 9:34 am

Or conversely, given the lack of precision who would invest in it?

Andrew' June 26, 2013 at 9:38 am

Some things are a no-brainer and a sure thing at the same time. My first point was people were already doing this before it was insanely cheap and easy. Now the problem might be that it is so cheap and easy it will be hard to make the raping that traditional universities are used to.

JWatts June 26, 2013 at 9:51 am

it will be hard to make the raping that traditional universities are used to.

Maybe, or perhaps universities will just lobby for protectionist regulation.

JWatts June 26, 2013 at 9:54 am

To clarify, I think you make a good point. But I believe precise numbers, large investments and a proven track record will protect this nascent industry from the entrenched and politically powerful competition.

Andrew' June 26, 2013 at 10:00 am

We await the Affordable College Act where parents have to pay a $750 penaltax just in case their kids will need access to quality on-line education.

Andrew' June 26, 2013 at 10:06 am

I’m half joking. The joke half is that they are that depraved. They are the joke. They want everything that is free to them but provides revenues. They will want to hold the toll bridge to certifying education. Universities won’t be the problem, just the whining wounded.

Andrew' June 26, 2013 at 10:08 am

The point about investors is this is a labeling issue. I had an on-line course decade(s) ago. They just chose not to call it that. If it benefits them, they will. Only investors will be able to dig into this.

Rahul June 26, 2013 at 9:20 am

To me the interesting metric is, what percent of students taking an online course are actually willing to pay for it.

Unfortunately, this study does not seem to answer that: anyone know? Given free, people will sign up for almost anything.

JWatts June 26, 2013 at 9:35 am

Given free, people will sign up for almost anything.


prior_approval June 26, 2013 at 9:54 am

‘Given free, people will sign up for almost anything.’

And luckily, there are people with money willing to provide free things – on their terms, of course. Paying for something to be free to others is one of those cases where charity is rarely involved.

Rahul June 26, 2013 at 9:57 am

Isn’t Charity by definition paying for something to be free for others?

Andrew' June 26, 2013 at 10:03 am

Then don’t do it.

Consumer time is now the great bottleneck.

Marisa Gunther June 26, 2013 at 11:33 am

That´s not always true… In Cryoair Corporation ( ) we offer free education to all our employees and around 10 to 15 % take this opportunity.

Edgar99 June 26, 2013 at 9:32 am

Many “on-line” courses have a testing component that requires the student to report to an on-campus testing facility in order to take examinations.

Urso June 26, 2013 at 10:37 am

Employers, for reasons good bad or indifferent, tend to “trust” degrees from nearby universities more than those far away (ceteris paribus of course).

Jethro June 26, 2013 at 9:13 pm

So could the quote also mean aout 70 percent of students turn to online programs based at colleges within 100 miles of their prospective future employers?

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