Online Education is Booming at American Community Colleges

Barry Lenson

Online Education is Booming at American Community Colleges

The Instructional Technology Council has been monitoring the use of distance learning at community college for more than six years now. In a recent survey of 139 institutions, the Council determined that the use of distance learning is increasing quickly at community colleges.

It’s another sign that computer-based instruction is now firmly in the mainstream of American higher education. Let’s look at some findings from the survey:

  • Enrollment in online courses grew by 9 percent from between 2009 to fall 2010, outpacing the eight percent growth in overall community college enrollment.
  • Sixty-eight percent of the colleges surveyed reported that they can’t offer enough online courses to meet student demand.
  • “Blended” courses that offer a combination of classroom and online instruction are increasing.  Sixty-five percent of colleges said that they offer classes that are taught completely online - down from 75 percent last year. But 21 percent now offer blended/hybrid courses - up from 15 percent last year. So mixed instruction is definitely on the rise.
  • Colleges report a need to train faculty to teach courses online. Ninety-five percent of the schools surveyed now plan to offer such training, up from 92 percent in 2005.

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