By Paul Fain
The market for online higher education aimed at adults may be reaching maturity, according to a new report from Eduventures. And without a better-defined product, the report’s author said online learning faces a risk of petering out and being little more than a back-up alternative to on-campus education for students.
“We feel this is the watershed moment,” said Richard Garrett, vice president and principal analyst for Eduventures and the report’s author. “After years of endless growth, we’re definitely coming to more of a plateau situation.”
Eduventures is a research and consulting firm that works with colleges and higher education-related businesses. The study was based in part on the newly-released results of a survey of 1,500 U.S. adults on their attitudes about online education. Released today, the company has conducted a version of the survey (of 18- to 70-year-olds) sporadically since 2004.
Citing survey findings and market data, the report found that 38 percent of prospective adult students prefer to study fully or mostly online. That portion remains virtually unchanged since 2006, when 37 percent said they preferred online learning. Similarly, there was only a small bump over the last six years in the percentage of adult students who said online college is equal in quality to campus learning.
By Trent Batson
In the last three months, I talked with a large majority of global ePortfolio industry leaders. I was surprised at how much the industry had changed and how large the scale of implementation is compared to a year ago.
Why are ePortfolios so relevant today?
An electronic portfolio belongs to the learner: a Web-based application that can upload and store any file type to serve as evidence in a presentation from the ePortfolio, such as for graduation or to get a job. It is thus an electronic record of achievement that can be constantly sorted and culled and curated over time. It is an active repository with many management tools that can generate Web presentations for particular purposes; it is a resume-maker with linked evidence.
At the end of each academic term on many U.S. campuses, students complete evaluations of their course instructors. It is a process that has been criticized for years, and yet it shows a very common desire: to find an effective way to weed out the bad apples. High-stakes evaluations are in vogue not only in higher education but also in elementary and high school.
Are college students’ evaluations of their instructors a useful way to assess professors? What might be more effective?
By Karin Fischer
As higher education goes global, a new organization will serve as a forum for issues of international accreditation and quality assurance, from the regulation of overseas branch campuses to the oversight of free online courses.
The Council for Higher Education Accreditation, known as CHEA, announced on Thursday the formation of the CHEA International Quality Group, a membership organization that will serve as a venue both for common quality-assurance challenges faced by countries around the globe and for those that arise as universities’ activities increasingly cross international borders.
“At this juncture, we’ve got to understand one another,” said Judith S. Eaton, president of CHEA, an association that represents 3,000 colleges and recognizes 60 accrediting organizations in the United States.
By Andrea Fuller
When colleges look to compare themselves with others, they’re not much different from high-school students chasing popularity: Everyone wants to be friends with the Ivy League, but the Ivy League is really picky about whom it hangs out with.
Each year colleges submit “comparison groups” to the U.S. Department of Education to get feedback on how their institution stacks up in terms of finances, enrollment, and other measures tabulated in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. The groups sometimes represent a college’s actual peers but more often reveal their aspirations.
By Anthony P. Carnevale, Tamara Jayasundera, and Ban Cheah
Many of the stories you’ve heard about the Great Recession often involve the plight of college graduates, or stories about how men and women have fared differently in the recession and recovery. The media have even created a new vocabulary to describe these differences, such as “Man-cession” and “Man-covery.” But the evidence suggests that differences in education better explain how Americans have fared in these difficult economic times. In The College Advantage, we argue that college degrees have served as protection for Americans seeking shelter during a tough economic storm.
By Steve Kolowich
As mayor of Rancho Mirage, Calif., Scott Hines is in charge of a town of about 17,000 people in the Coachella Valley. As the chief operating officer of World Education University, a new company that says it “will forever alter the landscape of post-secondary education” by offering free courses online, Hines is now in charge of the personal information of about 50,000 prospective students and more than $1 million in seed funding.
But as World Education University continues to raise money and populate its database with the personal information of curious students, some observers in the higher education community wonder whether the company, which is not authorized to award degrees and has no formalized academic program, may be a mirage — an idyllic fantasy that is more likely to dissolve into the landscape than alter it.
By Audrey Williams
Academe needs a new model for the professoriate that better supports the growing number of instructors who are off the tenure track, the participants in a national project about the changing faculty have concluded.
The participants, who represent a cross-section of academe and its stakeholders, also said in a report being released this week that they need to align to gather data that will paint a clearer picture of higher education’s increasing reliance on contingent faculty.
A key reason for those two strategies to improve the jobs of contingent faculty members is that their poor working conditions may harm student learning, says the report, a “working document” produced by the Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success.
The 49-page document, in part, details the challenges linked to the rising number of contingent faculty, who now make up about 70 percent of all instructors at the nation’s colleges and universities. But data that quantify the effects of this shift in the make-up of the faculty and the issues it creates aren’t readily available, the report says. Without hard numbers, campus policy makers may be unaware of the extent of the challenges they face.
- Adjunct survey paints bleak portrait (insidehighered.com)
- Freelance, part-time or fixed-term: Is this the future of academic careers? (guardian.co.uk)
- AAUP Proposes Giving Contingent Faculty a Bigger Role in College Governance (chronicle.com)