2015 Online Report Card - Tracking Online Education in the United States

Online Report Card – Tracking Online Education in the United States, is the 13th annual report of the state of online learning in U.S. Higher education. The 2015 Survey of Online Learning conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group and co-sponsored by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), Pearson, StudyPortals, WCET and Tyton Partners, is the leading barometer of online learning in the United States.

Key report findings include:

  • A year‐to‐year 3.9% increase in the number of distance education students, up from the 3.7% rate recorded last year.
  • More than one in four students (28%) now take at least one distance education course (a total of 5,828,826 students, a year‐to‐year increase of 217,275).
  • The total of 5.8 million fall 2014 distance education students is composed of 2.85 million taking all of their courses at a distance and 2.97 million taking some, but not all, distance courses.
  • Public institutions command the largest portion of distance education students, with 72.7% of all undergraduate and 38.7% of all graduate‐level distance students.
  • The proportion of chief academic leaders that say online learning is critical to their long‐ term strategy fell from 70.8% last year to 63.3% this year.
  • The percent of academic leaders rating the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face‐to‐face instruction is now at 71.4%.
  • Only 29.1% of academic leaders report that their faculty accept the “value and legitimacy of online education.” Among schools with the largest distance enrollments, 60.1% report faculty acceptance while only 11.6% of the schools with no distance enrollments do so.

Infographic of the report’s findings is available at: http://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/2015SurveyInfo.pdf

Interactive data site containing all the enrollment data used in the report is available at: http://www.studyportals.com/onlinereportcard/

WCET’s companion report with additional IPEDS distance enrollment summaries is available at
http://wcet.wiche.edu/initiatives/research/WCET-Distance-Education-Enrollment-Report-2016