Issues of Quality, Access and Acceptance Emerge as Online Education Attains Scale

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The Sloan Consortium’s Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks examines the potential of online education.

As online education scales, 'issues regarding the quality of online learning and the level of effort required to develop and teach online courses continue to be of concern at all levels of education.'

The latest Sloan Survey of Online Learning revealed nearly 30 percent of all college and university students now take at least one course online. As adoption of online learning continues to increase, issues related to scale, such as quality, access and acceptance, become paramount. In the latest issue of the Sloan Consortium’s (Sloan-C) scholarly periodical, Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (JALN), experts describe the practice and potential of online education.

JALN Volume 14, Issue 4, features an article titled, “Why Online Education Will Attain Full Scale,” by John Sener, who reasons online education “will soon become a routine, commonplace, and integral part of the educational experience.”

In “Educational Transformation through Online Learning: To Be or Not to Be,” Anthony Picciano, Jeff Seaman and Elaine Allen use six years of data on K-20 online learning to explore transformation as it relates to the growth of online learning, institutional mission, student access, faculty acceptance, instructional quality, and student satisfaction. As online education scales, “issues regarding the quality of online learning and the level of effort required to develop and teach online courses continue to be of concern at all levels of education.”

Also in this issue, Kaye Shelton takes on quality assurance, presenting a “Quality Scorecard for the Administration of Online Education Programs,” drawn from the expertise of senior administrators. The scorecard rubric is an industry standard for evaluating, planning and reporting on the quality of online educational programs.

Among other highlights in this issue, Helga Dorner and Andrea Kárpáti show how “Mentoring for Innovation” enables novice teachers to benefit from expert know-how; Lana C. Jackson, Stephanie J. Jones, and Roy C. Rodriguez identify “Faculty Actions that Result in Student Satisfaction in Online Courses”; and in “Automating Expertise in Collaborative Learning Environments,” teams from Pearson Knowledge Technologies, the U.S. Air Force, European Office of Aerospace Research and Development, and the U.S. Army Research Institute used Latent Semantic Analysis, to significantly improve the quality of collaboration.

ABOUT JALN
Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (JALN), published by the Sloan Consortium, is a major source of knowledge about online education. The aim of the JALN is to describe original work in synchronous learning networks (ALN), including experimental results. For more information, visit http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/jaln_main.

ABOUT SLOAN-C
The Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) is an institutional and professional leadership organization dedicated to integrating online education into the mainstream of higher education, helping institutions and individual educators improve the quality, scale, and breadth of education. For more information, visit http://www.sloanconsortium.org.

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EILEEN PACHECO
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