Here at eLearning 2014 Fred Lokken of Truckee Meadows Community College presented the results of the most recent ITC survey into distance education. This is the 10th annual edition of the survey, which is the the primary college-focused distance education survey. The results are sent to all college presidents as well as to key media outlets. The survey takes place in Autumn/Fall each year, and is sent electronically. The 2013 survey saw 140 complete responses and statistical accuracy was reported at +/-4%.
Fred claims that it was around the 7th year of the survey (2011) that distance learning began to be recognised by the government as equivalent to classroom education in terms of quality of materials and instruction. He pointed out that online education has overcome many barriers in a short space of time, instigating a paradigm shift that has yet to be fully understood.
The majority of community colleges manage their distance learning operations through a mix of centralised and decentralised administration.
Online enrolment is up while overall enrolment is marginally down. This is a trend seen consistently over the life of the survey and across a range of institutions. (40% attributed this to the downturn in the economy.) Web-facilitated classes and blended classes are on the increase.
Here are the challenges that distance education administrators see as the most pressing:
After a period of some turbulence, most institutions have settled on a fixed LMS, with only 27% saying that they were considering switching their LMS in the next year.
OER was the main change since previous surveys, with 45% predicting significant OER impact on their campus in the next 3-5 years. Half (50%) thought OER would have very little impact but only 3% thought there would be no impact. Here are the challenges that were identified as barriers to institutional adoption of OER.