Online Enrollments Grow Again, Though Many Colleges Are Undecided on MOOCs

The number of students taking at least one course online grew by 9.3 percent from the fall of 2010 to the fall of 2011, according to the Babson Survey Research Group’s latest annual survey of more than 2,500 colleges and universities. That increase builds on years of steady growth over the survey’s 10-year history. The proportion of students taking at least one course online also reached an all-time high of 32 percent, according to the survey.

The latest survey also asked respondents about one of higher education’s most talked-about trends: the rise of massive open online courses, or MOOCs. Though several elite institutions have embraced such courses in the last year, and at least one mainstream higher-education group may recommend that colleges offer credit for them, more than 55 percent of institutions said they were undecided about their plans for offering MOOCs.

Nearly one-third of institutions, or 32.7 percent, also reported that they had no plans to offer MOOCs. Some 2.6 percent said they currently offered a MOOC, and 9.4 percent said they were in the planning stages of offering one.

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