The article excerpted below summarizes how a group of institutions offering online degree programs plans to develop standards for reporting and comparing the learning outcomes and professional skills that result from their online degrees.
Online Institutions Set Up a Forum to Facilitate Comparisons of Their Programs
Dan Carnevale, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 23, 2007
A group of institutions that primarily serve adult students through distance education announced a plan on Monday to let potential students compare the effectiveness of their academic programs. The organization, called the Presidents' Forum, was started by Excelsior College and has nine other members, including Capella, Kaplan, and Western Governors Universities. The colleges and universities mostly enroll students over the age of 25 who are seeking degrees for professional advancement or a career change. The institutions plan to develop a series of standards to measure what students are learning. The outcomes measurements will look at individual academic programs, not just at the institution as a whole. Then starting in 2009, the institutions plan to release what they call "Transparency by Design Reports," which will reveal the results of those measurements so students can see which programs would be most helpful for their chosen careers before they enroll. Chronicle readers can login to read more ...