Report: Increased exposure to online learning fosters greater confidence in its benefits

REPORT: Increased exposure to online learning fosters greater confidence in its benefits


Campus Technology magazine reports that when it comes to online learning “familiarity breeds respect.” Two new studies conducted by an organization called the Sloan Consortium find that chief academic officers (CAOs) and faculty from schools with e-learning experience are more likely to believe in its benefits than those who don’t.

The report, found in the August 2010 issue of Campus Technology, describes the first study that surveyed close to 2,600 CAOs on the use of online learning programs at their institutions and their own personal feelings about such programs. In 2009, 68% of respondents reported that they believed learning outcomes for online learning programs were the “same,” “somewhat superior” or “superior” compared to face-to-face learning. That percentage was up from 57% in 2003.

The study also found that administrators who had the least positive views about online learning were those with the least exposure to it. Fifty-eight percent of respondents from institutions with no online programs feel that online learning is “somewhat inferior” or “inferior” to face-to-face learning. This compares to 14% of participants from institutions with online programs who shared these views.

The report also measured faculty opinions. Over 80% of faculty with no online teaching experience say they believe online learning outcomes to be “inferior” or “somewhat inferior” to classroom learning. This is in contrast to 52% of faculty with online teaching experience who believe that online learning outcomes are as good as or better than classroom learning outcomes.

These reports strongly suggest that more exposure to online learning significantly changes attitudes toward the positive of those polled.

Continuing & Innovative Education (CIE) is proud to offer online college credit courses through University Extension (UEX). UEX provides evening and online courses as well as many special academic and enrichment programs to university students or anyone with a passion for learning.

"It’s gratifying to see that administrators and faculty are changing their perceptions about online education because what we’ve known for years is that online courses can really help students out,” said Lois Kim, assistant director of UEX. “We have students who take our online courses because they have a day job, are abroad, or otherwise unable to attend day classes on campus. Online courses give students one more option for staying on track to their degrees.”

Currently enrolled students at The University of Texas at Austin may take an online course from UEX with their dean’s approval as a complement to their on-campus experience. These students might use an online class to solve a schedule conflict or to take a course that is not offered that semester. Online courses supplement the regular course offerings and help students progress to graduation.

High school students also benefit from CIE’s online programs. The K-16 Education Center offers The University of Texas at Austin Online High School. The Online High School is fully accredited by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and authorized by the Texas State Board of Education to provide distance learners with an online high school curriculum and to award diplomas. The program currently offers more than 48 online courses in a wide variety of subjects.


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