According to an article in Inside Higher Ed, 2008 online enrollments were up 17 percent from a year before. More than 4.5 million people took at least one online class.
This was not merely reflective of growth in the popularity of online universities. Much of the increase occurred from traditional colleges offering online courses. Not that professors really seem to value virtual courses. According to the article:
Asked whether their faculty accept “the value and legitimacy” of online education, and the results suggest something short of a strong endorsement of virtual learning. In the fall of 2009, only 30.9 percent of chief academic officers said that their faculty members do have such respect for online learning, while 51.8 percent were neutral and 17.3 percent disagreed.
What’s even more interesting, only about 45 percent of chief academic officers at for-profit institutions accept the “value and legitimacy” of online learning. For-profit colleges, of course, are known for enthusiastically championing virtual education.