Distance Learning

December 7, 2001 • Volume 11, Issue 42
Do online courses provide a good education?
By Brian Hansen

Introduction

Robin Stephan is studying for her master's degree in human resources from online-only Capella University, based in Minneapolis. After her husband and other employees of the LTV Corp. were laid off last winter, Capella offered the ex-employees and their families $10,000 grants to take online courses.  (AP Photo/Jack Rendulich)
Robin Stephan is studying for her master's degree in human resources from online-only Capella University, based in Minneapolis. After her husband and other employees of the LTV Corp. were laid off last winter, Capella offered the ex-employees and their families $10,000 grants to take online courses. (AP Photo/Jack Rendulich)

Higher education in the United States is undergoing a virtual revolution. More than 1,600 postsecondary schools offer some 54,000 Internet-based courses to an estimated 1.6 million students enrolled in online courses and degree programs, not only at traditional colleges and universities but also at institutions that exist only in cyberspace. Critics say distance learning can't compare with traditional classroom instruction, that cyber students miss out on meaningful college experiences and that for-profit cyber-education ventures endanger academic freedom. But supporters say distance learning can make higher education available to “the other 99 percent” — all the world's people who don't go to college. Indeed, according to one prediction, distance learning will push the global demand for U.S. higher education to 160 million students by 2025.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Education Issues
Mar. 10, 2017  Charter Schools
Feb. 03, 2017  Civic Education
Sep. 05, 2014  Race and Education
Jun. 13, 2014  Dropout Rate
May 09, 2014  School Discipline
Mar. 07, 2014  Home Schooling
Dec. 02, 2011  Digital Education
Nov. 15, 2011  Expanding Higher Education
Dec. 10, 2010  Preventing Bullying Updated
Apr. 16, 2010  Revising No Child Left Behind
Mar. 26, 2010  Teen Pregnancy
Sep. 04, 2009  Financial Literacy
Jun. 05, 2009  Student Rights
Feb. 22, 2008  Reading Crisis?
Jul. 13, 2007  Students Under Stress
Apr. 27, 2007  Fixing Urban Schools Updated
Nov. 10, 2006  Video Games Updated
Mar. 03, 2006  AP and IB Programs
Oct. 07, 2005  Academic Freedom
Aug. 26, 2005  Evaluating Head Start
May 27, 2005  No Child Left Behind
Jan. 17, 2003  Home Schooling Debate
Sep. 06, 2002  Teaching Math and Science
Jun. 07, 2002  Grade Inflation
Dec. 07, 2001  Distance Learning
Apr. 20, 2001  Testing in Schools
May 14, 1999  National Education Standards
Apr. 10, 1998  Liberal Arts Education
Jul. 26, 1996  Attack on Public Schools
May 17, 1996  Year-Round Schools
Oct. 20, 1995  Networking the Classroom
Sep. 22, 1995  High School Sports
Jan. 20, 1995  Parents and Schools
Sep. 09, 1994  Home Schooling
Mar. 25, 1994  Private Management of Public Schools
Mar. 11, 1994  Education Standards
Apr. 09, 1993  Head Start
Nov. 30, 1990  Conflict Over Multicultural Education
Feb. 05, 1988  Preschool: Too Much Too Soon?
Oct. 23, 1987  Education Reform
Aug. 24, 1984  Status of the Schools
Sep. 10, 1982  Schoolbook Controversies
Sep. 03, 1982  Post-Sputnik Education
Aug. 18, 1978  Competency Tests
Jan. 26, 1972  Public School Financing
Nov. 03, 1971  Education for Jobs
Apr. 15, 1970  Reform of Public Schools
Aug. 27, 1969  Discipline in Public Schools
Dec. 27, 1968  Community Control of Public Schools
Jun. 14, 1965  Summer School Innovations
Oct. 28, 1964  Education of Slum Children
Jun. 05, 1963  Year-Round School
Mar. 28, 1962  Mentally Retarded Children
Dec. 17, 1958  Educational Testing
Sep. 25, 1957  Liberal Education
Jul. 11, 1956  Educational Exchange
Feb. 02, 1955  Federal Aid for School Construction
Mar. 07, 1951  Education in an Extended Emergency
Nov. 20, 1945  Postwar Public Education
Nov. 07, 1941  Standards of Education
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Internet and Social Media
Undergraduate and Graduate Education