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Title:Online Learning at iSchools — Review of Current Offerings
Author(s):Kampov-Polevoi, Julia; Mostafa, Javed
Subject(s):online learning
IS education
Abstract:The rapid growth in the knowledge and information sector of economy in the recent decades has led to a shift from the traditional educational paradigm to the concept of lifelong learning. Wide acceptance of this concept in the US can be illustrated by the fact that overwhelming majority of state governors ranked encouraging lifelong learning as the top educational issue [1]. According to the most recent government report [2], there has been a steady increase in student enrollment in post-secondary educational institutions and the trend is expected to continue over the next decade with most significant growth in the 25-34 age group (near 30%) and almost as much growth in the over 35 age group as among 18-24 year olds with the number of graduate and professional students increasing 18% and 20% respectively. In other words, it is expected that people will be seeking more advanced education or new professional skills and at later stages of their lives. It is reasonable to expect a proportionate increase in the demand for degrees in the field of Information Science. Higher education infrastructure cannot handle such growth in demand without exploring alternatives to traditional classroom learning. One of the ways to meet the projected demand in graduate/professional education is to develop or extend online education offerings. By expanding temporal and spatial boundaries of educational institutions, online learning not only allows the educational institutions to grow beyond the physical limits of their campuses, but also increases accessibility of education to students that, for various reasons, cannot take part in traditional educational programs. In fact, there has been a steady increase in student demand for online learning opportunities that provide the flexible, time-efficient, and relevant to workplace education they desire. According to most recent nationwide survey [3], the number of students taking at least one online course in a semester has been increasing steadily and is projected to continue to grow with online enrollment currently comprising nearly 20% of total student enrollment. Not, surprisingly, majority of post-secondary educational institutions consider online learning important to their overall strategy [3] with two thirds having online offerings ranging from select courses to fully-online degree programs. Yet, one third of institutions have no online offerings. How do information science programs fit into the online learning landscape? Our study will attempt to answer this question by exploring the current status of online education in IS. Specifically, we plan to review existing programs in terms of their business models, technological platforms and delivery format as well as assess barriers to establishing or expanding online programs. The goal is to understand what opportunities and challenges affect building online education capacity for the IS programs. This poster reports the preliminary findings from a pilot study focused on the 19 US based members of iSchool Caucus and aimed at pilot-testing our methodology.
Issue Date:2009-02-08
Genre:Conference Poster
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-04-03

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