(Virtual Hand Raise) What’s Up with Online Education?

Online Education

By Jason Kelley
September 29, 2011

Consumer Insights

Technology is transforming the classroom.  So much so, that there may be no actual need for a classroom.  A recent study on the Digital Revolution and Higher Learning revealed some finding that are, shall we say, educational.


The general public and college presidents differ over the educational value of online courses:

  • 29% of the public says online courses offer an equal value compared with courses taken in a classroom
  • 51% of the college presidents surveyed say online courses provide the same value


77% of institutions now offer online courses, but these courses are more prevalent in some sectors of higher education than in others:

  • 89% of four-year public colleges and universities offer online classes
  • Just 60% of four-year private schools offer them


College presidents predict substantial growth in online learning:

  • 15% say most of their current undergraduate students have taken a class online
  • 50% predict that 10 years from now most of their students will take classes online

The New College President – Hip & Plugged In

Gone are the days of the stodgy image of the college president. Here’s how today’s education leaders are scoring the “tech-savvy” department:

  • 87% use a smartphone daily
  • 83% use a desktop computer
  • 65% use a laptop
  • Fully half (49%) use a tablet computer such as an iPad at least occasionally
  • 42% use an e-reader such as a Kindle or Nook

This report is based on findings from a pair of Pew Research Center surveys conducted in spring 2011. One is a telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 2,142 adults, age 18 and older. The other is an online survey, done in association with the Chronicle of Higher Education, among the presidents of 1,055 two-year and four-year private, public, and for-profit colleges and universities.