Steady Online Learning Growth in HigherEd, Faculty Clueless on OER

After years of support from Sloan, the annual survey of higher education was sponsored this year by Pearson and conducted by Babson Survey Research Group.

The bottom line is that online learning in US HigherEd continues its slow and steady growth as a viable alternative and complement to traditional delivery. Following is a recap of the seven most important findings.

Becoming strategic

  • HigherEd academic leaders who report that online learning is critical to their institution’s long term strategy has grown from 48% in 2002 to 71% this year.



  • About three quarters of academic leaders rate the quality on online learning superior to those in face-to-face instruction.
  • However, only 28% of academic leaders say that their faculty members accept the “value and legitimacy of online education,” unchanged from 2003.



  • About 40% of institutions are still confused about MOOC and only 8% participate.
  • Two years ago, half of HigherEd leaders thought MOOCs were a good way to learn about online pedagogy, but that has dropped nearly in half.



  • Growth of online learning slowed to 4% but it’s still growing faster than face-to-face.

Unbelievably unaware of OER

  • Three quarters of faculty report that they were generally unaware of Open Educational Resources and Creative Commons licensing.
  • About 56% of academic leaders were at least aware of OER.


Cost concerns registering

  • Three quarters of the leaders rated cost and student indebtedness at a top driver
  • About two thirds said employability was a key driver



  • The data for this report is collected by both the Babson Survey Research Group and by the College Board with additional data from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).
  • A total of 2,807 survey responses were included in the analysis representing 57% of US HigherEd.


Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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