If U.S. colleges and universities are ever going to bring down their costs, it means that one day they're going to have to buck up and embrace online learning as regular tool for teaching undergrads. And in order for that to happen, it means their faculty members will have to get on board with the idea.
Unfortunately, we're still pretty far off from that point. Babson Survey Research Group has released its latest poll tracking attitudes about online education within academia, and as in past years, it's evidence of a big split between administrators, a large portion of whom see the web as key to the future, and professors, who are mostly suspicious.
Babson surveyed the chief academic officers at 2,800 institutions, including everything from for-profit schools to community colleges to full research universities. On the whole, 69 percent of the academic leaders who were interviewed agreed that online learning would be "critical" the long-term plans of the school, up from around half a decade ago.
And from an administrator's perspective, it's pretty clear why that might be the case: the students are asking for it. The survey reports that online courses now make up more than 30 percent of total college enrollment.