The Pew Research Center puts out an annual report based on two surveys.  One is a telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 2,142 adults ages 18 and older. The other is an online survey, done in association with the Chronicle of Higher Education, among the presidents of 1,055 two-year and four-year private, public, and for-profit colleges and universities.  Here is a summary of key findings:

  1. Half (51%) of the college presidents surveyed say online courses provide the same value.
  2. 89% of four-year public colleges and universities offer online classes.
  3. Almost half of the students that graduated from college in the last 10 years took online courses.
  4. 50% of college presidents predict that 10 years from now most of their students will take classes online.
  5. The vast majority of two-year colleges offer online courses (91%), and their leaders are among the most likely to believe that online learning is comparable to learning in a classroom.
  6. Nearly two-thirds of college presidents (62%) anticipate that 10 years from now, more than half of the textbooks used by their undergraduate students will be entirely digital.
  7. More than half of recent college graduates (57%) say when they were in college they used a laptop, smartphone or tablet computer in class at least sometime. But 56% of colleges and universities say it is up to the individual instructors.
  8. The leaders of the nation’s colleges and universities are a tech-savvy group. Nearly nine-in-ten (87%) use a smartphone daily, 83% use a desktop computer and 65% use a laptop.

The WSJ noted that less than one-third of Americans believe that online college courses provide value equal to classroom instruction, so colleges and online providers have more advocacy work to do.

For more, read the executive summary. 

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