A Major Online Failure in Illinois

By now, I’m sure you’ve already read Kevin Carey’s great piece on the threat online college courses could end up posing to traditional, brick-and-mortar institutions of higher education. Several times, in fact.

Now, Inside Higher Ed has up a story that serves as an interesting followup to Kevin’s piece, and which is also very much worth a read. It discusses why the University of Illinois Global Campus, “an exclusively online branch of the Illinois system designed to offer high-demand degree programs to non-residential students,” is well on its way to a hugely dissapointing failure (UI administrators hoped Global Campus would be enrolling 70,000 students by 2018).

The culprits? Increased competition in the online college-course market, for one thing, as well as worries from faculty and administrators that Global Campus would dilute the UI brand due to a lack of rigorous oversight. There was also what you might call a bit of a rough spot when the original plan called for the online courses to appropriate syllabuses and other materials from standard courses and hand them over to lower-paid, non-tenure-track instructors to “deliver” them. Faculty, it may surprise you to find out, did not like this idea.

Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.