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Economic and political pressures

Although administrators in higher education typically feel tremendous economic pressure the irony is that these pressures are essentially internal. Newman and his colleagues (2004) commented that, except for brief declines during recessions, revenues adjusted for inflation from all revenue sources (tuition, state funding, etc.) are actually increasing. The economic pressure comes from ever increasing expenditures rather than declining revenues. Administrators are simply spending more money on more things. This spending is typically focused on institutional status and “mission creep” (Newman et al., 2004). Thus, the increased revenue is not being spent on student learning. Instead, the money is spent on programs with poor ROI, causing further economic pressure, leading to even more programs with poor ROI. The dog is chasing its tail.

The result is not only the perceived economic pressure, but actual external political pressure as well. Students, parents, and political leaders see skyrocketing tuition paired with atrocious four year graduation rates (e.g., Hess, Schneider, Carey,&Kelly, 2009). They also encounter institutional resistance when they try to hold institutions accountable for student learning. They may not be aware of the results of national tests showing that 50% of college graduates cannot read or do mathematics at a college level (Pascarella&Terenzini, 2005), but they have a vague sense that the revenue from rapidly increasing tuition and fees is not being spent on student learning. Thus, lowering the FGE is politically smart in addition to being economically smart. Throwing information dumps online that, at best, merely reproduce the low levels of learning already of public concern is no one’s best interest. In fact, the rush to online instruction may turn out to be the higher education equivalent of the charge of the Light Brigade—charging right into the big guns of our biggest critics. If, at best, what we accomplish through electronic instruction is simply more of what we are already doing, can a higher education equivalent of No Child Left Behind, and the resulting loss of institutional control, be far away?


Throwing a lot of courses and programs online is the Benchmark solution to the problem. Everybody is doing it and higher education administrators fear they will miss out if they do not join in. At one level this occurrence does make sense. Even if an institution winds up shooting itself in the foot, at worst it will be competing against institutions with similar holes in their feet. But this is the relative comparison. In absolute terms, the institution is really better off economically only if it generates a sufficiently high ROI on its students. The “churn and burn” approach to enrollment can be very costly. Low retention rates, churning enrollment every year, is equivalent to lighting a cigarette with recruitment dollars. Continuing to generate low FGE is also not wise politically. This situation does not mean that technology cannot improve instruction in classrooms or that online courses cannot help accomplish institutional missions. But doing so will be expensive and must combine the talents of SMEs, ID experts, and computer experts. Online learning may be the wave of the future, but this wave does not mean that the future will necessarily be bright. Making this future bright will require a major change in the way institutions of higher education approach online learning.

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Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
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Source:  OpenStax, Ncpea handbook of online instruction and programs in education leadership. OpenStax CNX. Mar 06, 2012 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11375/1.24
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