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Online Learning at Public Universities: Building a New Path to a College Degree

As online education continues to gain in popularity, how are traditional colleges and universities meeting the challenge? A new joint survey from The Learning House, Inc., and The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) reveals some answers. In the report “Online Learning at Public Universities: Building a New Path to a College Degree,” Chief Academic Officers from AASCU institutions share how their public colleges and universities are currently managing online education needs, overcoming challenges, serving online students and planning for the future.

For information about how private colleges are meeting the challenges of online learning, download “Online Learning at Private Universities: A Survey of Chief Academic Officers.” This research was conducted in conjunction with the Council of Independent Colleges.

SOME KEY FINDINGS OF THE REPORT:

State colleges are embracing online learning

Almost half of the AASCU member institutions surveyed offer five or more fully online programs, while 34 percent offer one to four fully online programs. 

Student discipline is the greatest barrier to success

Almost all respondents said the greatest barrier to online program success that they have yet to overcome was the student discipline required to obtain an online degree.

Unexpected impact

CAOs reported that offering online courses provided new pedagogy for face-to-face instruction, enabled traditional students to enroll in online courses, and increased institutional capacity to offer more classes.

Online learning can generate revenue

One-third of universities reported earning at least $1 million in revenue from online learning, and only 3 percent reported a decline in online program revenue year over year.

What the future holds

When asked about plans for the next one to two years, the most frequent responses were to add fully online certificate programs and to increase international enrollment. Using MOOC content in on-ground courses came in third.

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