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Online Education: The Revolution that Wasn't

Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning Volume 41, Number 3, ISSN 0009-1383


When online distance learning was first proposed as a viable alternative to site-based education, many predicted the demise of traditional colleges and universities. The ability to take courses where and when students wanted would mean, these futurists said, that the traditional bricks-and-mortar classroom would cease to exist, replaced by a go-anywhere virtual institution. While online learning (i.e., course-work students take at a distance, using the Internet, with no face-to-face meetings) has grown at an astonishing pace, it has done so in ways that no one predicted. The change in delivery of coursework in higher education could have been termed revolutionary, except that few feel that higher education has been revolutionized. What has happened instead is an absorption: most students have chosen to add online coursework onto their existing, classroom-based curriculum. In this article, the author describes how some of the predictions about online distance education have turned out, based on the best current evidence. (Contains 4 figures and 3 resources.)


Doyle, W.R. (2009). Online Education: The Revolution that Wasn't. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 41(3), 56-58. Retrieved November 15, 2019 from .

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