Measuring the Quality of Online Higher Education
Although online education has become an accepted modality in higher education, it still faces some resistance in the marketplace. Questions about its rigor and engagement linger among the public, students and education experts.
“Equal Opportunity in Higher Education: Understanding Rigor and Engagement Across Learning Modalities,” a white paper from The Learning House, Inc. and Aslanian Market Research, examines student survey data to determine how online education compares to face-to-face education in terms of rigor and faculty engagement. The paper also compares online not-for-profit institutions with for-profit institutions. This white paper looks at students’ perception of rigor and faculty engagement across the sector using data from two sources,“Online College Students 2014: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences” and “The College Student Report” from the National Survey of Student Engagement.
The reported data indicates an important trend; online education measures up to the traditional classroom format when it comes to rigor, faculty engagement and student motivation. Some key findings include:
- Online students write and read as much as traditional students.
- Online students feel less challenged by online coursework.
- Online students spend as much time preparing for class as traditional students.
- Faculty members for online courses provide the same amount of feedback as faculty in traditional courses, and possibly more quickly.
- Online platforms are not using multimedia to its full potential.
- There is little difference in rigor or engagement between for-profit and not-for-profit institutions.
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