Bloomberg Article: More College Students Opt for Online Courses

Barry Lenson

College Students Take Online Courses“College Crackup and the Online Future,” a post by Mark C. Taylor on, documents the rising number of college students who are opting to take courses online.

Taylor writes, “Some changes are well under way. In 2009, about 29 percent of college students took at least one course online; by 2014, that number is projected to increase to 50 percent. Much of this growth has been driven by for-profit schools, but in the past couple of years, traditional colleges and universities have designed their own programs in an effort to increase tuition income without expanding the physical plant. It remains to be seen whether this financial bet will pay off.”

Here are some trends that Taylor cites . . .

  • Students aren’t who they used to be. Only 15%-18% of American post-secondary students are now between the traditional college age of 18-22, and fewer college students now reside on campuses. Fully 85% of student could now be called “nontraditional.”
  • The structure of online courses will move further away from structure of previous college courses. Taylor predicts that more classes will be delivered in “modules” that can be downloaded as individual lectures.  Students will be able to select parts of different courses and combine them to meet their educational needs.
  • A shakeout is coming. “Colleges and universities that can’t adapt will fail,” Taylor predicts. “Departments will either be eliminated or redesigned in ways that support more extensive collaboration among faculty members and students working in different areas.”

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