Distance Education Course Offerings
This section provides information about the distance education courses offered by higher education institutions. These are the first nationally representative data about such distance education offerings. Institutions were asked whether they currently offer any distance education courses or planned to offer any such courses in the next 3 years. Institutions that currently offered distance education courses (i.e., offered distance education courses in fall 1995) were asked about the number of courses offered in academic year 1994-95, the types of technologies used to deliver courses, the kinds of remote sites to which courses were directed, the types of students for whom courses were designed, and the primary developers of distance education course curricula.
A third of higher education institutions offered distance education courses in fall 1995, another quarter planned to offer such courses in the next 3 years, and 42 percent did not offer and did not plan to offer distance education courses in the next 3 years (Table 1). A much greater percentage of public than of private institutions offered distance education courses: 58 percent of public 2-year and 62 percent of public 4-year institutions offered distance education courses, compared with 2 percent of private 2-year and 12 percent of private 4-year institutions. The percentage of institutions offering distance education courses also varied by institutional size and geographic region, with fewer small institutions and fewer institutions in the Northeast offering distance education.
Some of the variation in distance education offerings by region and size was related to the control of the institutions: 66 percent of institutions in the Northeast are private, compared with about half of the institutions in the other regions; and 72 percent of small institutions (i.e., those with less than 3,000 students) are private, compared with 24 percent of medium institutions (those with 3,000 to 9,999 students), and 11 percent of large institutions (those with 10,000 or more students; not shown in tables). This report focuses on presenting the findings by institutional type (which is a combination of institutional level and control), but the findings by region and size are presented in the tables for those interested in these variables.
About a third (36 percent) of higher education institutions offering distance education courses in fall 1995 had a separate distance education department or office (Figure 1). Large institutions were particularly likely to have such a department or office.
Number of Distance Education Courses Offered