(By Brendan O’Malley)
In at least 20 out of 24 European countries, funding for higher education has either been cut or has not kept pace with increases in student numbers, according to new data published by the 2016 Public Funding Observatory.
The data, released at the European University Association’s funding forum in Porto, Portugal, reveals, for example, that although public funding to universities has increased in 11 countries between 2008 and 2015, rising enrolment meant that funding per student fell in seven of these.
Meanwhile, public funding has fallen in 13 systems; and in seven of these, student numbers have been growing.
This indicates that “almost all systems in Europe are under pressure”, the European University Association or EUA says. The exceptions are Norway and Sweden.
(Read more at University World News)
For much of their modern existance, distance-education courses have suffered from an image problem.
In the 1970s and 1980s, they were seen as cheap knockoffs of on-campus offerings, hawked on late-night television by the likes of Sally Struthers, who asked viewers, “Do you want to make more money? Sure, we all do,” in commercials for the International Correspondence School.
In the late 1990s, the introduction of online learning coincided with the expansion of for-profit providers, such as the University of Phoenix and Corinthian Colleges. The two trends were often conflated in the media, and the quality concerns that frequently dogged the for-profit industry rubbed off on online programs.
Columbia University tried to change public perception in 2000, when it started a high-profile, $25 million online learning portal called Fathom, which aggregated content from other top-ranked institutions. It was an idea ahead of its time, by a decade. The site went dark in 2003, after failing to turn a profit. By 2011, in a survey by the Pew Research Center, just 29 percent of American adults said that online courses offered equal value to learning in traditional classrooms.
[The coming era of consolidation among colleges and universities]
But then the negative headwinds facing online education began to shift, and quickly. The big reason? Name-brand and elite universities suddenly became interested in digital learning.
(read more @ The Washington Post)