Online learning -- the world is beginning to recognize its many benefits. And its rapid growth continues unabated. The 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning found that online enrollment rose by almost one million students. That's the largest year-to-year increase since Sloan began keeping track eight years ago.
A November, 30 2010 article in Faculty Focus highlights the most important findings of the study, which include these significant developments:
Individual schools have seen the benefits of this increase in demand for online education. The Cornell Daily Sun reports that eCornell, Cornell University's online education program, "has posted profits for the fifth consecutive year, enrolling a record 10,611 students in 26 Certificate Programs." The program was established in 2000 with a $30 million investment from the University's endowment. The program boasts a uniqueness that, so far, is unrivaled -- it's the only program of its kind in the Ivy League. And its uniqueness has reaped great profits: eCornell has seen a $2.3 million increase in revenue to an expected $11.5 million, "two to five percent of which is expected to be profit," the Daily Sun article reports.
Even public universities are expecting to profit from online education. Ball State University's Daily News reports that "Ball State is looking ahead to a new strategic plan and a new definition of education, including more immersive and distance-learning education." The university is also making an extra effort to focus on nontraditional learners.
"One way to help the university stand out is by offering more online opportunities for non-traditional students,' said Jennifer Bolt, who leads the Growing Online Education Task Force. 'Offering more classes online would help Ball State graduate more students in four years and receive more state funding."
The interest in online learning has even spread overseas -- indeed as far as Oz. The Australian reports
Online learning has become a global phenomenon. And though the industry is still going through growth pangs -- including dealing with issues of federal regulation and student retention rates -- it looks like the sky's the limit as far as online education is concerned.