Number of Students Doing College Online –

Online learning has seen substantial growth in recent years, due in part to changing attitudes and more schools offering these opportunities to their students. The number of students taking advantage of these educational opportunities is now in the millions.

More than 6.7 million students took at least one online course in fall 2011, an increase of 570,000 from the previous year, according to the 2012 survey of online learning by Babson Survey Research Group, released Jan. 8. The full survey report titled Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States found that 32% of higher education students took at least one course online.

Other key findings in the report include:

  • The proportion of chief academic leaders that say online learning is critical to their long-term strategy is now at 69.1% – the highest it has been for this 10-year period.
  • 44.6% of academic leaders believe it takes more faculty time and effort to teach online, an increase from 41.4% in 2006.
  • 77% of academic leaders rated the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those face-to-face.
  • Only 30.2% of chief academic officers believe their faculty accept the value and legitimacy of online education.
  • 88.8% of academic leaders cite the need for more discipline on the part of online students as a barrier to the growth of online education, an increase from just over 80% in 2007.
  • 62.4% of higher education institutions provided complete online programs, an increase from 34.5% in 2002.
  • The number of private, not-for-profit institutions with online offerings had the greatest increase, as the number of schools with fully online programs doubled from 22.1% in 2002 to 48.4% in 2012.

The survey has been conducted annually for the past 10 years. The 2012 survey includes responses from 2,820 degree-granting colleges and universities in the United States.

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