Online Nation: Five Years of Growth in Online Learning | The Sloan Consortium

The Sloan Consortium recently published a very important study of the growth of online learning. The comprehensive study was supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and included a broad survey of 2,500 colleges and universities. Anyone remotely involved in online and distance learning should read it. Here are some key points:

Background: For the past several years, online enrollments have been growing substantially faster than overall higher education enrollments. The expectation of academic leaders has been that these enrollments would continue their substantial growth for at least another year. Do the measured enrollments match these lofty expectations?

The evidence: Online enrollments have continued to grow at rates far in excess of the total higher education student population, albeit at slower rates than for previous years.

  • Almost 3.5 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2006 term; a nearly 10 percent increase over the number reported the previous year.
  • The 9.7 percent growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 1.5 percent growth of the overall higher education student population.
  • Nearly twenty percent of all U.S. higher education students were taking at least one online course in the fall of 2006.

You can (and should!) read and download the complete survey here: Online Nation: Five Years of Growth in Online Learning | The Sloan Consortium .

Is college necessary in a knowledge-drenched world?

Wow! How’s that for a thought-provoking title?

This is the title of an article every higher-education faculty member and administrator should read. It very well summarizes a driver of the paradigm shift that’s happening in the world related to education: “So much information, so little knowledge about what to do with it.”

The author is a former English professor and currently director of academic computing at MIT. Yes, MIT!

Here is the complete cite. You really should read it.

Trent Batson, “Is College Necessary in a Knowledge-Drenched World?,” Campus Technology, 9/17/2008,

By the way, the answer to the question in the title of this blog post is, “Yes!”. But you’ll need to read the article to see why…