A recent study by Inside Higher Ed offers some striking findings about faculty and administrator attitudes toward online education.

Researchers contacted teachers and administrators at two- and four-year colleges and universities of varying sizes; around 4,500 faculty and 600 administrators responded. Some of the study’s findings:

  • Fear vs. excitement. More than half of faculty are “filled more with fear than with excitement” about online education. But 80 percent of administrators are more excited than fearful about online education.
  • Too much online? Thirty percent of faculty say that institutions are “pushing too much online,” and another 30 percent are neutral, neither agreeing nor disagreeing with the statement. But 79 percent of administrators disagree.
  • Pay for online teachers. Almost 60 percent of administrators believe that online teachers are paid fairly. Not surprisingly, the percentage of faculty who believe online teachers are paid fairly is about half that.
  • Familiarity reduces fear. Nearly 70 percent of teachers who teach only in the classroom fear the online education boom. But teachers who teach at least one fully online course are more excited than fearful, at a rate of 59 percent (more excited) to 41 percent (more fearful). Those who teach a “blended” course (with both online and classroom instruction) are in the middle, with 51 percent fearing the online boom.
  • Questions about quality. Two thirds of respondents say that educational outcomes in online courses are inferior to traditional courses. Even among those who teach online, almost 40 percent say online courses produce inferior learning outcomes, while half said that online and traditional course produce equivalent outcomes.

Read the entire report here.

Read the article in Inside Higher Ed here.

To read some of the report’s implications, and to review a list of questions for board members, see part 2 of this blog post.

Guest blog post by Jennifer Woodruff Tait