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Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Online Education as a Technology Innovation in Higher Education

Online Education as a Technology Innovation in Higher Education
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Author(s): Steven F. Tello (University of Massachusetts Lowell, USA)
Copyright: 2006
Pages: 3
Source title: Emerging Trends and Challenges in Information Technology Management
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-019-6.ch276
ISBN13: 9781616921286
EISBN13: 9781466665361


Online education is a technology innovation in higher education that is rapidly changing a sector very much steeped in tradition. Between the Fall 2003 and Fall 2004 semesters, online course enrollments in public and private colleges and universities in the United States increased from 1.9 million online students to 2.6 million, an increase of 37% (Allen & Seaman, 2004). This growth is projected to continue at a rate of 20% per year through 2007 (Gallagher, 2004). This compares to total online course enrollments of approximately 800,000 students in 1994 (Lewis, Snow, Farris & Levine, 1999). Online education offers institutions of higher education: • New markets through expanded geographic boundaries; • New educational models (e.g., blended learning, accelerated programs) that appeal to a broader range of learners (e.g., adult learners, executives, single mothers); • New technologies and techniques for enriching the curriculum and learning experience. At the same time, online education raises significant challenges and competitive threats to traditional institutions of higher education: • Expanded geographic boundaries increase the bargaining power of students who can now shop among geographically dispersed institutions. • New technologies and techniques challenge the traditional lecture method, suggesting that other methods and technologies may be more effective in educating the 21st century student. • Relatively new for-profit entrants to the field such as the University of Phoenix and Capella University are investing in proven CRM systems and methods, increasing their yield on student recruits and pressuring traditional institutions to review and change their recruitment methods. The combined challenges of growing competition and changing educational and business models are forcing many traditional public and private institutions of higher education to adopt online education as a strategy for remaining competitive and solvent in the coming decade. These opportunities and challenges require higher education to rethink markets, programs, and operations, not unlike the global competition facing many other industries in this emerging knowledge economy. By sharing his experience in the development, launch and management of an online education program at a major public university, the author will illustrate how emerging principles of innovation theory apply to the successful adoption of online education in higher education.

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