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«DISTANCE EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES: From Correspondence Courses to the Internet Gail D. CARUTH (Corresponding Author) Department of Educational ...»

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Studies have resulted in mixed predictions regarding online education. In one study on motivation for resident students taking online courses, it was predicted that enrollment in online courses might decrease because of students being overwhelmed with technology and constant online exposure. Students are in front of the computer too much already and even though they are becoming more comfortable with technology they are at risk of becoming de-motivated (Pastore & Carr-Chellman, 2009).

However, according to Kim & Bonk (2006) it is predicted that there will be a growth of about 10-20% in online certification and recertification programs in the future.

There will also be a rise in associate degrees offered online. Further projections made by the researchers indicated that the overall quality of online education will improve (Caruth & Caruth, 2012).

IMPLICATIONS

Distance learning, since its early days, has changed the playing field for formal education. The federal government, for example, has considered revising requirements that students wanting to qualify for federal assistance can take no more than 50% of their course load online and Harvard University has been considering reducing requirements for residency. Some universities are even requiring students to enroll in some online courses in pursuit of the "global scholar" (Caruth & Caruth, 2012;

Larreamendy-Joerns & Leinhardt, 2006, p. 570). Additional changes in online education

are demonstrated by the following:

–  –  –

Hence, online education is becoming common practice in higher education. It is growing and becoming more established (Caruth & Caruth, 2012; Larreamendy-Joerns & Leinhardt, 2006). Tallent-Runnels, Thomas, Lan, Cooper, Ahern, Shaw, and Liu (2006) presented numbers to illustrate how enrollments in online education is increasing 33% in the United States each year.

According to the Sloan Consortium the growth rate in online education exceeds the overall growth rate in higher education. These figures reflected the total student population in higher education (Caruth & Caruth, 2012; Allen & Seaman, 2010).

The evolution of online courses and teaching online requires that faculty think and feel differently about the classroom and the learning environment. This change in thinking does not need not to be viewed negatively.

There is some reluctance, on the part of faculty, to move from behind the lectern to the virtual classroom.

As the role of online instruction in higher education develops, instructors are assuming multiple responsibilities as teacher, learner, and technical support person. Faculty should not feel alone in this evolution. Administration must also get behind this in support of the faculty (Caruth & Caruth, 2012; Fish & Wickersham, 2009).

At a minimum, faculty needs initial and ongoing training in technology to teach online courses effectively until they feel comfortable with online instruction. Training faculty can be costly whether universities invite online technology experts on campus or they send selected faculty to offsite training (Lei & Gupta, 2010).

According to the Sloan Consortium, there is no single approach to training but most universities provide mentoring and training options for faculty teaching online.

Specifically, 65% provide training courses and 59% provide informal mentoring options (Allen & Seaman, 2010).The size of online classes is a concern.

Class size is generally determined by individual universities. Over 20 states in the United States have policies limiting the number of students per class.

On the one hand, some universities advocate large size classes to encourage collaborative learning that produces the most positive learning outcomes. On the other hand, other universities maintain that the best instructor to student interaction is reached through smaller classes (Caruth & Caruth, 2012; Orellana, 2006). Early approaches to distance learning did not require different thought processes toward teaching from previous lecture driven instruction. Online education is a new form of distance-learning that focuses on collaborative discussions between students and teachers. Those instructors teaching online, according to Mitchell (2009), felt that because of their online experiences they interacted more effectively with students in face-to-face classes than before. Additionally, teachers now view students as more autonomous and more self-driven (Caruth & Caruth, 2012).

Distance education, moreover, is thriving internationally, particularly in higher education and shows no signs of slowing down. The ease of learning via the internet has made it viable to reach students that were previously un-served.

In spite of the rising costs (Hyman, 2012) and challenges when studying outside of the classroom, students have more autonomy, flexibility, and resources to handle their coursework offered with distance education options than in the traditional environment. More educational programs are utilizing the Internet than ever before.

Technology has facilitated this approach to distance learning. The growth of web-based distance education has been unprecedented over the past decade and shows little or no signs of slowing down (Lei & Gupta, 2010).

CONCLUSIONS

Online education is becoming an integral part of the American educational system (Caruth & Caruth, 2012; Hyman, 2012; Lei & Gupta, 2010). Currently there are institutions that offer strictly online courses and brick and mortar or traditional institutions also offer online courses. Online education appears to be well established in the higher educational scene. There are mixed views concerning the future developments of online education. Not all research points to a definitive understanding of how online education will unfold in the future.





A review of the literature suggests that as indicated by enrollment figures, the number of students taking online courses is growing and continued growth can be expected in the future (Allen & Seaman, 2010; Kim & Bonk, 2006; Lei & Gupta, 2010). However it is measured, online education appears to be here to stay.

BIODATA and CONTACT ADDRESESS of the AUTHORS

–  –  –

Gail D. CARUTH (Corresponding Author) Department of Educational Leadership Texas A&M University-Commerce, Commerce, Texas USA Residence Address 1876 Oak Bend Drive, Rockwall, Texas 75087 Phone: 972-771-2371 Email: gaildianna@flash.net

–  –  –

Donald L. CARUTH, Ph.D.

Independent Management Consultant Residence Address 1876 Oak Bend Drive, Rockwall, Texas 75087 Phone: 972-771-2371 Email: dcaruth@flash.net

REFERENCES

Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2010). Learning on demand: Online education in the United States, 2009. Babson Survey Research Group, Retrieved October 11, 2010 from, http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/survey/pdf/learningondemand.pdf

American Intercontenental University. (n.d.). Retreived on January 16, 2013 from:

http://www.aiuonline.edu/Degree-Short/Info-offer3?code=3862&SiteID=MSN+Branded_-_AIU+Branded_Exact+AIU_Online+Exact|mkwid|6bMPdxda|pcrid|1551558854|pkw|AIU%20Online|pmt|e Bergman, H. F. (2001). "The Silent University": The Society to Encourage Studies at Home, 1873-1897. The New England Quarterly, (74)3, 447-47

Capella University. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2013 from:

http://www.capella.edu/?linkid=174866&WT.srch=1&DFAID=1&cskwid=eGAi0FuAz&002=2173582&004= 888467543&005=11047138644&006=1450630624&009=e&011=capella+university&refr= Caruth, G. D. & Caruth, D. L. (2012). Significant trends in online education. Journal of Online Education.

Fish, W. W., & Wickersham, L. E. (2009). Best practices for online instructors:

Reminders. The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 10(3), 279-284.

Hollenbeck, C. R., Zinkhan, G. M., & French, W. (2005). Distance learning trends and benchmarks: Lessons from an online MBA program. Marketing Education Review, (15)2, 39-51.

Hyman, P. (2012) The year of the disruptive education: As college tuitions soar, various online models vie to educate college students worldwide—at no cost. Communications of the ACM: 55(12) doi:10.1145/2380656.2380664 Kim, K. J., & Bonk, C. J. (2006). The future of online teaching and learning in higher education: The survey says.... Educause Quarterly, 4, 22-30.

Larreamendy-Joerns, J., & Leinhardt, G. (2006). Going the distance with online education. Review of Educational Research 76(4), 567-605. Retrieved October 6, 2010 from http://rer.sagepub.com/content/76/4/567 Lei, S. A., & Gupta, R. K. (2010). College distance education courses: Evaluating benefits and costs from institutional, faculty and students' perspective. Distance Education, 616-631.

Mitchell, R. L. G. (2009). Online education and organizational change. Community College Review, 37(1), 81-101.

Orellana, A. (2006). Class size and interaction in online courses. The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 7(3), 229-248.

Pastore, R., & Carr-Chellman, A. (2009). Motivations for residential students to participate in online courses. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 10(3), 263-277.

Phoenix University. (n.d.) Retrieved January 16, 2013 from:

http://www.phoenix.edu/vr/aptm?v8=brand&unit=dir&channel=srch&provider=msn&initiative=gen&creat ive_desc=Exact&keyword=phoenix+university&user3=1&mktg_prog=brand&placement=srch&version=tex t&classification=t1srch&destination=aptm&distribution=na&user1=cpc&user2=brand&cm_mmc=dir-_srch-_-msn en&cm_mmca4=Exact&cm_mmca7=phoenix+university&cm_mmca13=1&cm_mmca1=brand&cm_mmca2= srch&cm_mmca5=text&cm_mmca6=t1srch&cm_mmca8=aptm&cm_mmca9=na&cm_mmca11=cpc&cm_m mca12=brand&pvp_campaign=14210_0917_9_95&pvp_campaign_int=24310_0917_9_95&vrefid=7X6Tj8J P_816006219_RefDomain_{placement}#rc1 Tallent-Runnels, M. K., Thomas, J. A., Lan, W. Y., Cooper, S., Ahern, T. C., Shaw, S. M., & Lui, X. (2006). Teaching courses online: A review of the research. Review of Educational Research, 6(1), 93-135. Retrieved September 22, 2010 from http://rer.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/76/1/93

Walden University. (n.d.) Retrieved on January 16, 2013 from:

http://info.waldenu.edu/onlineuniversities/?comm_code=MSNG0010&infinity=mac~Generic%20and%20D egree%20Programs%2BSPART%2BUS%2BENG~GENERIC%2BOnline%20Universities~1566548762~8939 739153~online%20universities~e&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=online%20universitie s&utm_content=m_1566548762_e&utm_campaign=Generic%20and%20Degree%20Programs%2BSPART %2BUS%2BENG&msclkid=abb75534277643ebb0086e5637464a1d



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