Last year, House Speaker Will Weatherford said the state should create an online university and a Board of Governors task force recently released a report on the state's opinions. Count former Gov. Jeb Bush among the proponents of more online courses in higher education.
Along with Randy Best, chairman of a company that creates online courses, Bush penned an opinion piece that was first published by Bloomberg News. An excerpt:
Growth in online education is now outpacing traditional enrollments by a wide margin. Why? Because it is well suited to the needs of an increasing number of learners, extending access and allowing students to both work and study.
In addition, learning measures for online students have matched or exceeded those for on-campus students. Although graduate programs have seen the largest growth in online learning, significant increases in online undergraduate programs are expected over the next decade. Unfortunately, many universities remain averse to such change and hold to tradition and a classical notion of education.
In a recent hearing before state legislators, university officials questioned the value of moving online, testifying that there would be little, if any, savings from such a shift. These conclusions simply don't hold up.