It's Tuesday, so it must be time for my daily post on the new IPEDS data including online education. There are so many ways to slice this data that just was not possible before, and with a little spreadsheet engineering, I'm finding it easy to come up with new views. Today let's look at the adoption of online education per state for public institutions (both 4-year and 2-year schools). Note that this data does not include private non-profit or for-profit institutions as I wanted to focus on official state involvement in online ed.
IPEDS tracks information now about students taking exclusively distance education courses, students taking some but not all distance education courses, and students not taking any distance education courses. Please note the following:
- I am using the terminology “online courses” rather than “distance education”. For the most part these terms are interchangeable, but they are not equivalent as “distance education” can include courses delivered by a medium other than the Internet (e.g. correspondence course). Part of the reason I stick with “online course” is that there is a growing use case where students local to a campus choose to take a course online, which is not really at a distance.
- I have combined the fields for students taking "exclusive online courses" and "some but not all online courses" to derive the "at least one online course", as this roughly equals the data reported by the Sloan survey / Babson Survey Research Group survey.
Some notes on the data:
- There is quite a variation by state, with 42% of public higher ed students in Arizona taking at least one online course but only 10% in Delaware and 3% in Washington, DC (yes, I know it's not really a state).
- Not surprisingly, the greatest adoption of online education in public higher ed is in the larger western states (Arizona, North Dakota, Alaska, Idaho, Oklahoma, etc) with the least adoption in smaller eastern states (DC, Delaware, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, etc). The biggest outlier is North Carolina, which has the third highest adoption despite being medium size geographically and in the east.
- I was surprised to see that more than one in five students at Kentucky institutions are in fully-online programs.
- Two of the states getting most of the exposure in online education, California and New York, are 43rd and 44th in terms of current online enrollment; meanwhile Florida is 13th.
I'm sure there are many other interesting observations possible with this data.