Thursday, September 30, 2010

Celebrating excellence in online education

In November the Sloan Consortium will present its 2010 awards, which recognize 'excellence in online teaching and learning.'

Earlier this year, the Sloan Consortium released its annual report on the state of online education in the U.S. The report showed that in fall 2008, over 25% of students were enrolled in at least one online course. That's an increase of more than 100% since fall 2002, when only 9.6% of college students took any courses online.

These growth patterns have continued through the recession at many institutions. For example, the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) set new records for online and 'blended' student enrollment for the past 36 terms. (Blended students take a mix of online and on-campus courses. Blended courses are those that have both online and on-campus components.) Currently over half of the students at UIS take at least one course online, and more than 5,000 students are enrolled in online degree programs offered by the school.

Raymond Schroeder, director of the UIS Center for Online Learning and winner of the 2010 Sloan-C award for leadership, notes that the economic downturn has led many students to try finishing degree programs as quickly as possible. Online learning is popular among these students because it offers them the scheduling flexibility they need for accelerated learning.

UIS was featured in a September 27, 2010, report by

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