January Articles of Interest for Higher Education Professionals

The Association for Institutional Research shared the following publications of interest for higher education professionals. Click on each of the titles to access full articles. The synopsis of each article is credited to the Electronic AIR Newsletter (December edition).

Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011
Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011 presents results from the Babson Survey Research Group’s 2011 Survey of Online Learning. Based on responses from more than 2,500 colleges and universities, this report addresses questions about the nature and extent of online education including: is online learning strategic? are learning outcomes in online courses comparable to outcomes in face-to-face instruction? has faculty acceptance of online increased? what training do faculty receive for teaching online? what is the future for online enrollment growth? Although the rate of growth has slowed in the past year, growth in online enrollment continues to increase more rapidly than enrollment in higher education overall. In fall 2010, 6.1 million students enrolled in at least one online course, up 10.1% from fall 2010. Online enrollment now accounts for 31.3% of total enrollment.

Open Doors 2011: Report on International Educational Exchange
The Institute of International Education (IIE) recently released Open Doors 2011: Report on International Educational Exchange The report presents a comprehensive analysis of U.S. students studying abroad as well as international students studying in the U.S. Open Doors features graphic displays, maps, tables, figures and policy-oriented analyses. The IIE website provides an overview of the findings as well as links to tables, graphs, text, and fact sheets including “Fast Facts.”

Crossing the Finish Line: A National Effort to Address Near Completion
Crossing the Finish Line: A National Effort to Address Near Completion
 by the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) outlines strategies to increase the number and diversity of individuals who left postsecondary education just shy of earning their credential. The brief defines near-completers as those students close to qualifying for an award and eligible to earn an award, but for a variety of reasons have not received one. The proposed framework for improving degree attainment includes improving the recruitment and assessment process of near-completers, addressing the financial burden, and providing student support services designed specifically for returning students. The brief highlights several regional and national efforts.

National Survey of Student Engagement
The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) released its new report, Fostering Student Engagement Campuswide—Annual Results 2011, based on responses from 416,000 students at 673 institutions in early November. The report covers a wide range of topics, including engagement across the campus, time use, learning strategies, reading comprehension, diversity and global awareness, and high-impact practices. Three-quarters of seniors perceived substantial gains in work-related knowledge and skills. Students spent an average of 15 hours per week studying, but those who devoted at least 20 hours per week to studying were not always fully prepared for class. Faculty expectations for study time tended to be close to actual time studying. Around half participated in an internship, practicum, field experience, or clinical assignment. About 20% of entering students expected paying for college to be “very difficult,” and those who anticipated payment problems also expected more difficulty learning course material, managing time, and interacting with faculty. For more information about the history of NSSE, or using the results, visit the NSSE website or refer to the New Directions for Institutional Research, Using NSSE in Institutional Research, Number 14, Spring 2009.

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