Making Great Reports Even Better: Support Services for Sloan OL Surveys

Making Great Reports Even Better: Support Services for Sloan OL Surveys


The annual Sloan Survey of Online Learning has become the leading barometer of online higher education in the United States. Currently a collaborative effort between the Babson Survey Research Group, the College Board and the Sloan Consortium, the survey report is probably the most often-quoted source for basic information about the growth of online learning in US higher education. The survey's success has spawned several other successful surveys, including regional and K-12 versions.

For the report's first several iterations from 2003-2007, I provided behind-the-scenes review and editorial support services which helped make this ground-breaking survey even better (also see client quote below).

In 2008, in collaboration with the annual report's co-authors I. Elaine Allen and Jeff Seaman, I also conducted a preliminary research study which explored more deeply the question of why U.S. higher education institutions provide online offerings, and what barriers impede the widespread adoption of online education. The study examined three key variables -- “ institution type, level of institutional engagement in online education, and the relationship between strategically important factors which determine institutional involvement in online education. The resulting preliminary report (currently unpublished) found that online education has become an important means for enabling higher education institutions to achieve their strategic goals. Academic leaders cited a wide variety of factors as strategically important reasons to provide online education, and institutions are using their online education offerings to fulfill their strategic goals in a wide variety of ways.

These preliminary findings were reported at the 15th annual Sloan-C International Conference ("More on the 'Why' of Online Education") in November 2008.

Comments from satisfied clients:

"Your input for the early reports has had a lasting impact on the evolution of the way in which we create these reports. Your feedback, for example, on the online learning framework went a long way in improving its presentation, clarity, and relevance."
-- Jeff Seaman, co-author, Sloan Survey of Online Learning

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