For higher education to remain innovative and viable in the future, factors facilitating and inhibiting online education must be deeply examined and addressed. Higher education’s approaches to the phenomenon of online learning reveal much about its ability to be proactive in the face of significant societal change. In “A test of leadership: Charting the future of U.S. higher education” (2006), this is a time in higher education not unlike the period after World War II when American colleges and universities were compelled to respond to post-war issues and opportunities by revising and establishing policies and procedures to facilitate entry into, and completion of, educational pursuits on the part of men and women.
Online learning is a dynamic process that includes the interaction of administrators, faculty, and students. Surprisingly, there is a limited amount of literature written on this dynamic as it pertains to the digital age (Boezerooij, 2006). Issues ranging from access to accommodation and trust to management of time, money, and people all combine to create an environment in which online programs succeed, fail, or never materialize. This essay explores some of the major barriers and bridges to online higher education.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA