From the Sloan Consortium comes the tenth annual survey titled: Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States.

The higher education eLearning survey is a collaborative effort between the Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board, and purports itself to be the leading barometer of online learning in the United States.


“The rate of growth in online enrollments remains extremely robust,” said study co-author Jeff Seaman, Co-Director of the Babson Survey Research Group. “This is somewhat surprising given that overall higher education enrollments actually declined during this period.”


Ten Key eLearning Report Findings include:

  • Over 6.7 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2011 term, an increase of 570,000 students over the previous year.
  • Thirty-two percent of higher education students now take at least one course online.
  • 77% of academic leaders surveyed reported online learning outcomes to be the same, somewhat superior or superior to face-to-face in 2012.
  • 45% of CAOs agree that it takes more faculty time and effort to
    teach an online course than a face-to-face course.
  • Only 2.6% higher education institutions currently have a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), another 9.4 percent report MOOCs are in the planning stages.
  • Academic LEADERS remain unconvinced that MOOCs represent a sustainable method for offering online courses, but do believe that they provide an important means for institutions to learn about online pedagogy.
  • Seventy-seven percent of academic leaders rate the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face.
  • Only 30.2 percent of chief academic OFFICERS believe that their faculty accept the value and legitimacy of online education – a rate is lower than recorded in 2004.
  • The proportion of chief academic LEADERS that say that online learning is critical to their long-term strategy is at a new high of 69.1 percent.
  • A majority of chief academic officers at all types of institutions continue to believe that lower retention rates for online courses are a barrier to the wide-spread adoption of online education.

DOWNLOAD the Full eLearning Report




“Circuits and Electronics” (Course ID: 6.002x), began in March 2012, was the first MOOC developed by the edX, consortium led by MIT and Harvard.

Over 155,000 students initially registered for 6.002x. The course was composed of video lectures, interactive problems, online laboratories, and a discussion forum.


As the course ended in June 2012, researchers began to analyze the rich sources of data it generated.

Time on Task

Resources Used

The report below describes both the first stage of this research, which examined the students’ use of resources by time spent on each, and a second stage that is producing an in-depth picture of who the 6.002x students were, how their own background and capabilities related to their achievement and persistence, and how their interactions with 6.002x’s curricular and pedagogical components contributed to their level of success in the course.


A great article by Todd Tauber The dirty little secret of online learning: Students are bored and dropping out discusses the recent over-hyped and under-completed massive online courses.

He offers a couple reasons for their failure and concludes that future IS bright with increased funding and development!



So why are all these students falling asleep, virtually, in their digital classes? Mainly because the people putting education online are still thinking in terms of classrooms. And despite incorporating “decades of research on how students learn best”, the world has changed a lot in just the last few years.


 learning has to fit in between life and work. In a recent Duke University survey of MOOC students, for example, the most commonly cited barrier to completion was “lack of time/amount of time required.” Yet most of today’s online courses basically consist of reading assignments, lecture videos, homework problems and quizzes.


 The National Science Foundation, for example, is funding a study by MIT researchers to understand exactly why the vast majority of MOOC students don’t make it to the finish line. Carnegie Mellon University, meanwhile, is spending $500,000 to $1 million to create each of 15 new courses based on up-to-date research into how adults learn online. And investments in next generation adaptive learning technologies are surging.

Also mentioned is the important need to think about MOBILE LEARNING (#mLearning) and how to properly engage students.

The rush to create online courses has, in many cases simply meant “classroom online” and, it doesn’t work. New pedagogies have to be utilized to interface with the technologies in ways that engage today’s busy and active learner. The   promise of the future is there…just not yet.

A great article read the original at:

Daphne Koller: What We’re Learning From Online Education

Daphne Koller is the ‘birth mother’ of Coursera, and along with Stanford colleague Andrew Ng are the two behind the rise of MOOC’s and disruptive elearning in higher education.

This is a FANTASTIC video which provides insight into the impetus for Coursera and an inside view of this fantastic technology company.



About the Coursera Video (from a presentation at TED)

Daphne Koller is enticing top universities to put their most intriguing courses online for free — not just as a service, but as a way to research how people learn. With Coursera (cofounded by Andrew Ng), each keystroke, quiz, peer-to-peer discussion and self-graded assignment builds an unprecedented pool of data on how knowledge is processed.

With Coursera, Daphne Koller and co-founder Andrew Ng are bringing courses from top colleges online, free, for anyone who wants to take them. Bio:

Hybrid Online Learning Delivers

From the Bacon’s Rebellion web site (a great site you should check out!) is a  blog post supporting University of Virginia’s move to join Coursera, using the latest research from Ithaka S+R: Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities: Evidence from Randomized Trials.

As the  University of Virginia has been embroiled in a battle over it’s actions–or, LACK of action–with jumping on the MOOC bandwagon (see my comments here: Experts: UVa.’s Coursera partnership far from an embrace of online learning (July 17th, 2012)).

An interesting read, Bacon’s Rebellion does a good job teasing-out the salient parts of the research.


“Vigorous efforts should be made to aggressively explore uses of both the relatively simple systems that are proliferating all around us, often to good effect, and more sophisticated systems that are still in their infancy. There is every reason to expect these systems to improve over time, perhaps dramatically, and thus it is not foolish to believe that learning outcomes will also improve.” – Conclusion from:Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities: Evidence from Randomized Trials



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Future of Higher Education Becomes Unclear As Free Online Courses Multiply

A quick interview by the New York Times with Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng of Stanford–makers of the COURSERA platform–are adding 12 universities to  the online education venture they founded.


How could free massive open online courses, or MOOCs, benefit or be detrimental to society at large?

WHAT company recently announced that a dozen major research universities have joined forces with it to help expand and enhance online learning?
WHAT technological advances are expected to allow MOOCs to open higher education to hundreds of millions of people?

WHO are the founders of Coursera?

WHERE did a free online artificial intelligence course attract 160,000 students from 190 countries last year?
WHERE do two-thirds of Coursera’s students hail from?

HOW many students did Coursera register with its original partners?
HOW, for the most part, do the MOOCs function for students?
HOW do you think MOOCs could benefit society at large, and HOW could they be detrimental?

WHY did Richard A. DeMillo, the director of the Center for 21st Century Universities at Georgia Tech, refer to this recent expansion in online learning as a “tsunami”?
WHY are grading and online cheating especially problematic for MOOCs?

WHEN have you or someone you know taken an online course?

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