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Online Distance Learning

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On-Line Distance Learning and
Its Impact on the Post-Secondary Education System

On-Line Distance Learning and Its Impact on the Post-Secondary Education System

The $2.6-billion online education market provides an alternative to the campus classroom to meet the educational needs of a growing population of students. With the influx of newly developed online education programs from inside and outside the industry, the market flood has left many institutions scrambling to jump aboard in fear of being left behind.
The institutions that will succeed must develop sufficient marketing strategies to differentiate through brand naming and market niches. Proper research and development with careful consideration to the network infrastructure and cost feasibility of programs is necessary. While the opportunities and potential payoffs of online education are endless, they may come at a heavy price for some unprepared institutions venturing into the market if they do not meet the challenges of cost feasibility, technology, market retention, and quality control. Distance-learning programs should be used to compliment and enhance the educational experience rather than damage it or lessen its credibility and benefits. The Internet age has significantly reshaped the higher education industry technological advancements in the distance-learning methodology. Increasing competition in programs throughout colleges and universities and a booming demand from a growing student population has led to the broad expansion of distance learning technologies in today's educational infrastructures. By 2004 the online higher education market is expected to grow to $7 billion from $1.2 billion in 1999. Furthermore, it is estimated that in the coming year 2.2 million students are expected to enroll in online courses, an increase from 710,000 in 1998. Additionally, the number of two-year and four-year institutions offering online courses has risen from 48 percent in 1998 to 72 percent in 1999 (Grimes 2001,1). Regardless of the potential negative effects on postsecondary education, schools that wish to remain competitive in today's educational environment must incorporate online instructional programs that compliment their current curriculum and degree offerings.
While being pressured and in recognizing the need to offer distance learning in order to maintain competitiveness in the industry, several post-secondary institutions have proceeded without properly thinking out their strategy. “The attraction of a new revenue stream coupled with the fear of being left behind is driving colleges and universities online in droves” (Green 2000, 2). The result is a significant number of low-quality programs with high costs that cannot be recovered by normal tuition revenue.
Before an institution embarks on an online distance-learning program, it needs to take a hard look at the following two factors: 1) cost of development and operation of the distance-learning program, and 2) the quality of the program to be delivered via distance learning.
Often there are cost overruns due to unforeseen expenditures for network infrastructure, teacher and student training, technical support, monitoring, and feedback. “Cost feasibility of initiating such a program is highly dependent on the institution having to draw huge numbers of online students to make back the money spent on course development, faculty compensation, and student services” (Carr 2001, 4). At the same time it has to be careful that it does not compromise its educational standards while remaining competitive in the industry and an attempt is made to gain market share and attract more students to break even.
This study investigates how universities manage the dual pressures of a high demand for online education and advancement in information technology and remain competitive in the educational market.
A Brief Overview of the Distance Learning Industry
The distance-learning industry has taken many forms over the years. From hand written correspondence courses in the mid 1800’s, to radio and television broadcasting in the mid 1900’s to today’s Internet-based systems, the need and demand to deliver educational programs to students that would not otherwise be reached continues to grow. Unlike earlier forms of distance-learning, which were plagued by the restriction of one-way communication, the evolution of personal computers and Internet technologies has provided today’s education programs with an effective method of two-way communication that supports discussion and rapid information transfer (Rumble 2001, 34).
The International Journal of Educational Management defines distance learning as “any approach to education delivery that replaces the same time, same place, face-to-face environment of a traditional classroom” (Volery and Lord 2000, 217). The overall goal of colleges and universities that diversified into the arena of online education is to defend and maintain or to gain market share in the higher education industry. The objectives are to provide students with convenience and flexibility, and to eliminate the geographic barriers, which distance the student from the institution. The goal of the university will be to make it easier for students to obtain the various educational services it offers. This means that the university will go to the students rather than wait for the student to come to it (Rumble 2001, 34).
Therefore it is not too surprising that the initial venture into online education came from small little known schools that were looking to attract new students through flexible course offerings. Among these smaller schools at the forefront of the online movement is Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which claims to have been the first college in the U.S. to offer graduate programs online and the first to use UNIX technology to host online courses. Although NSU began offering courses with some online component in 1983, total web-based instruction was not offered until 1998 (Marshall 2001, 1).

Growth of Competition
While the initial move towards the web-based instruction has offered opportunities for smaller colleges to attract new students, the competition from larger universities with strong reputations and abundant resources has slowly pushed them aside or relegated them to serve small niche markets through differentiation. The advantage of desirability and visibility of the larger universities over their smaller lesser-known competitors has and should continue to leave the online marketplace with only a few truly successful providers both in market share and revenue. Therefore, the smaller competitors must rely on filling niche markets that are being overlooked in order to survive the inevitable shakeout. As competitors attempt to differentiate themselves the effective marketing of programs becomes as important as the offerings.

Industry Boom
The complexity and hype surrounding online education has resulted in varying and inconsistent goals and strategies among competitors. As some schools look to capture market share and turn a profit from their online offerings, others see their programs as a public relations move in hopes their offerings will assure students they are not digitally locked out of the information age. This has resulted in a trend that led universities to adopt a “gold rush” mentality by hastily implementing online distance-learning programs without carefully realizing the financial commitments and risks, along with market demand in the industry (Green 2000, 2-5). Consequently, this has caused an overcapacity of supply, which has altered the rules of competition in the higher education industry to focus on market share retention and growth.

Aggressive Approach to Market Share as the Strategic Goal
With the rapid development of Internet based technologies, online education has generated tremendous excitement both inside and outside higher education. For some, it offers the potential to provide learning to new audiences; for others, it offers the opportunity to transform learning delivery and the competitive landscape of the education industry. There are two key reasons for embracing online education. 1) Expanding access to educational providers is a top priority. Most state universities need to expand the availability of their educational services to underserved populations. Additionally, they seek to provide residents with instructional services and training that attract companies to their area. 2) Increased capacity constraints have also forced institutions to adopt distance-learning programs. Many administrators are finding they lack the facilities to accommodate the current surge of student numbers. Colleges and universities are hoping to leverage the scalability of online education to avoid overwhelming their bricks-and-mortar capacities. Consequently, reductions in public funding have left many educational institutions believing that distant learning programs are the only viable educational alternative available (Lord and Volery, 2000).
A refocused strategic goal based on defending or gaining market share has caused a flood into the online education industry. Institutions have taken a more aggressive approach as they have realized the current and potential future losses of revenue due to other online program offerings. “In 1999, 72 percent of two-year and four-year institutions offered online courses, up from 48 percent in 1998. The online education market “is expected to grow to $7 billion in 2003 from $1.2 billion in 1999” (Grimes 2001, 1). “More than one-third of all colleges and universities in the United States already offer distance-learning, and by 2002, four of every five are expected to do so” (Eastman and Swift 2001, 2). Therefore, as the demand continues to grow, it is apparent that academic institutions must examine the opportunities and threats of online education, in addition to recognizing signs of an inevitable shakeout of poor competing programs when the demand growth rate slows.
Competition, along with the fear of being left out of the online race will result in severe consequences for universities in the coming years. Institutions that are behind in meeting the student demand with online programs, such as Boston College and the University of New Hampshire, along with those universities that decide not to join the online revolution will “go the way of the dodo,” states Dees Stallings, director of academic affairs at Vcampus Corporation. Stallings, like many in the industry, feels that online education is a permanent change, not a “temporary phenomenon” (Carnevale 2001, 4). Furthermore, some experts also believe that those institutions that do not accommodate the demand for distance learning within the next decade will begin losing traditional student enrollment and revenue (Smith 2001, 2).

Emergence of Poorly Strategized Online Programs
The main target market for online programs are non-traditional college students, who are estimated to be more than 10 million and constitute about 67% of the total student body (Eastman and Swift 2001, 1). The terminology “non-traditional refers” to those students that are i) older than 25 years of age, ii) mostly taking graduate and continuing education courses, and iii) enrolled in night courses due to full-time job constraints, among others. In addition are the emerging student segments such as executives seeking further education and other working adults. These segments offer an attractive market that are often more lucrative than the “traditional market”. These students seek convenience and flexibility of time and location of courses offered.
This overwhelming rush to respond to the perceived and anticipated demand of the target market, has often led to the development of poorly articulated and organized programs. This has sometimes given the industry a bad name with negative effects. A major study suggests that 51.6 percent of institutions are operating without a strategic plan for information technology (Muirhead, 2000). Without a proper implementation strategy, several considerations are overlooked and a lack of coordination in developing a successful program results (Lawton and Barnes 1998). This lack of preparation has lead to cost overruns and other inefficient uses of resources for schools developing online programs.

Disregard for Cost Feasibility
In many cases the cost feasibility of implementing an online program has not been a priority issue for many institutions that are too quick to jump into the online race. A general assumption that online distance learning is a cost effective way of generating revenue has currently proven to be a misconception. Neglecting to do sufficient market research about the demand of the target market and competition within the industry has caused several programs to fail. Among the casualties of this lack of preparation are California Virtual University and Western Governors University. Developed in 1998 these institutions were initially heralded as having the proper model for virtual universities (Lee, 1998).
Cost of Network Infrastructure The projected costs of starting up an online program must include plans for the integration of technology in two dominant areas: administrative uses of technology and instructional uses of technology. Administrative technology refers to the network infrastructure necessary for handling the business operations such as online registration, academic advising, a library, and financial aid. Instructional technologies include tutorial, 24-hour technical support and training for faculty and students, maintenance, as well as systems of feedback that evaluate and assess quality. Additionally, sales and marketing teams must be hired to attract students to these programs (Green, 2000).
Not realizing the enormous commitment of resources necessary for developing an online program, many unprepared institutions cut corners and set themselves up to fail before they ever get started. Others with an abundance of resources engage in thorough research and development to ensure proper implementation. Cognitive Arts, a software development company which will develop 80 courses for Columbia University, took a full year and $1-million to design a single course (Green, 2000).

Online Costs Versus Traditional Costs Although it is anticipated that the eventual costs of producing and delivering online courses will be 20 percent lower than traditional offerings, many institutions have not been able to realize the savings (Carr, 2001). After taking network infrastructure and all of its applicable costs into consideration, institutions are finding that the costs of online programs can quickly get out of hand. For example, increases in labor costs can be very significant. Professors must allocate more time and be accessible seven days a week for students who have technical problems or must update assignments. This requires a certain amount of training for the professors, which adds to operating costs. Instructors spend significant amounts of time and energy replying to student inquiries about how to use their computers and how to make use of application software. In many cases, instructors feel overwhelmed with the skills and knowledge that they are now required to master as a part of their new professional responsibilities (Muirhead, 2000).

Supply Versus Demand Overall demand of online programs has been expanding rapidly and continues to do so. However, supply has increased at the same rate, if not faster in this booming growth period. Although some online programs may have sufficient demand and a cost feasible number of students enrolled, many do not and are losing money (Green, 2000).
Supply and demand is affected by the pricing of the online courses. Pricing determinations of online courses, as in all products or services, directly affect demand. If institutions price too low, then there is no perceived value in the instruction, which will result in low demand (Hartley, 2001). Consequently, pricing too high will cause demand to decrease as well. Therefore, adhering to the basic rules of economics, a balance must be found to price accordingly in order to gain demand and generate profit.

A New Competitive Strategy

The $2.6-billion online education market (Green 2000) has given rise to fierce competitiveness with a sense of a “free market” (Muirhead, 2000). Universities and colleges must now adapt to competing with rival institutions from across the country and around the world. In addition, emergence of virtual for-profit universities, such as the University of Phoenix, along with virtual-only universities like Jones International University and Capella University (Green, 2000) must also be considered as serious threats in the educational arena.
While the leading universities will continue to excel, the smaller institutions will be challenged to differentiate their curricula. For example, Economics 101 is relatively the same at nearly every community college across the country. Consequently, it is not necessary, nor does it make financial sense for each school to develop its own version of a class that does not provide a competitive advantage. Instead, the standard will be set by a more prestigious college or university, such as Columbia’s Economics 101 course, causing students to be more attracted to institutions that can provide greater perceived customer-added-value through convenience and support services (Green, 2000).

Brand Naming and Niche Marketing
To counteract competitive threats, institutions are utilizing marketing strategies such as brand naming and niche marketing as forms of differentiation. Marketing and sales forces have been funded to devise these strategies and are perceived to be the determinants of success for many institutions. Prestigious universities such as Duke, Columbia, Stanford, and Northwestern have used the brand naming strategy to spin off for-profit companies to capitalize on the opportunity to gain new revenue and market share (Green, 2000). Smaller institutions find it difficult to compete with such challenges and must focus on niche markets that provide specialty degrees or only serve their local community to differentiate.

Private Investors and Partnerships
In order to differentiate and implement a well-planned program, certain costs must be incurred, and therefore marketing is becoming more costly than ever. In an attempt to overcome the substantial costs, institutions are seeking new ways of aggressively raising funds Stanford was prohibited from developing 30 necessary online courses until it received a $450,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the program is expected to be self-supporting by the third year of operation (Anonymous, 1998). Several colleges and universities are in the same position as Stanford and base their financial dependence to compete in the new online market on outside investors both public and private.
Forming partnerships through combining resources and outsourcing with Internet companies has proven to be a viable solution for various institutions seeking to invest online. For example, Harvard, Duke, and the University of Pennsylvania have entered partnerships with private Internet companies which enable them to exchange and share course material for revenue and company equity. This alliance also happens to serve as a brand naming advantage by combining the prestige of these three well-respected universities.

Key Issues and Challenges in Online Distance Education

While the opportunities and potential payoffs of online education are endless, they may come at a heavy price for some unprepared institutions venturing into the market if they do not meet the challenges. The following key factors must be met in order to obtain long-term market share in the online education industry.

Cost Feasibility Challenge A popular misconception was that online programs would be a more cost effective form of higher education that would provide instant returns on investments. However, the rush into the emerging market resulted in a disregard for effective cost planning.
Several institutions did not consider such costs as assessment and feedback programs, training for students and teachers, increased labor costs, technological infrastructure upgrades and the increased time necessary for labor. Instructors must allocate several more hours to set up and administer an online course than to lead a traditional class.
When presented with the challenge to develop a cost feasible program, many institutions incurred losses. The resulting low resource allocation was poorer quality programs that did not provide sufficient services to offer students the essential academic standards required to match those of a traditional classroom.
Technology Challenge As institutions anticipated the technological challenge for incorporating these programs, many failed to take into account the necessary capabilities of the students. Although it is recommended, universities cannot require students to have extensive higher-level technology, such as a broadband Internet connection, expensive software, hardware, etc. However, minor requirements, such as a web-cam and additional enrollment fees are essential to most online courses and are mandated by the institution. As a result, the online program must accommodate the varying needs and technological levels over a broad range of the student capabilities.

Market Retention and Growth Challenge
A once consolidated industry that consisted of a few online distance learning institutions, such as the University of Phoenix and Nova University, has quickly become fragmented to include several more participants who want to claim their share of the market and take advantage of the boom. Various positioning strategies have been developed to differentiate programs in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage. Smaller competitors find this strategy the most viable for them to capture market share and make the online investment successful. As the market opened up to include a broad base of students, geographical, distance, financial, time, and space barriers were eliminated causing disequilibrium in the online education industry.

Quality Challenge Quality of online distance learning is a main issue for all stakeholders and has proven to be a significant problem. Colleges and universities must make recruiters and the business community aware of the legitimacy and quality of their distance-learning courses, since online education is often viewed as inferior to the traditional methods. There are several attributes of quality in online programs that must be considered, including training and technological knowledge of students and teachers, technological infrastructure, student to teacher contact, new cohesive teaching methods, and assessment and feedback. This is the focal point that online program development strategies must be based on. Quality of education is the most basic and essential need and perceived customer value that a post-secondary institute can offer.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Cost Feasibility

As colleges and universities find that distance learning is more costly than they had originally anticipated, management has turned to several different alternatives in order to solve the problem. First, some have developed partnerships with other institutions in order to share costs and to shorten the learning curve of entering the market. Second, some institutions have spun off the distance-learning portion of their curriculum into for-profit companies like Columbia University’s Fathom Project. Columbia hopes this project will provide a new revenue stream through the marketing of online courses and articles. Doing this also helps to entice outside investors to donate their time and money to the new organizations. Outside investors include several companies that benefit by being able to retain employees that want to seek college degrees at the same time. “They’re attracted to the idea of allowing employees save time by getting a degree without leaving the office” (Fisher 2000). A further benefit to the university is that if the distance-learning company fails, there is a legal buffer between the mother university and the failing organization, therefore relieving the mother university from any financial responsibility (Carr 2000, 4-5). Currently there are also more than 250 firms eager to help established universities develop their online programs. These firms build the infrastructure and manage the delivery of course material while also providing the tools that enable the student community to utilize the information efficiently. Duke University, Cardean University, and Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania are some of the notable schools that have benefited from these arrangements (The Economist, 2001).
Overall, an institution must ultimately decide on whether such a program is feasible in regards to breaking even. However, a consideration should be made to proceed with a program that is projected to return a loss, but would be an overall fixed cost contributor to the institution as a whole. This means that extensive financial analysis and forecasting should be done prior to beginning the program. In doing this, the institution can at least be able to meet the demand and offer the value-added service of a quality online program in order to retain and gain market share.
Technology
Many institutions have adapted to meet the demands of their students and faculty in order to solve the problem of maintaining the latest technological hardware and software. Successful institutions developed reasonable requirements that were technologically advanced enough to fully take advantage of the benefits of an online education. Management must realize that the quality and effectiveness is significantly based on the delivery of online courses. As a means to bridging the technological gap, institutions acknowledge their technological capabilities and align them with those of the students. Additionally, many universities are finding it beneficial to incorporate convergence strategies to overcome technological issues. Convergence tactics allow educational entities in the online industry to retain their core functions while offering enhanced flexibility. Examples include: the move to adopt integrated online instructional packages; the adoption of shared instructional design models within schools and between schools; the move towards incorporating both face-to-face and online instructional options; and the development of online databases for sharing disparate student data (Muirhead, 2000). Finally, technological know-how can be obtained through sufficient pre-planning research and thought out implementation strategies. Institutions must realize that this entails a significant amount of time, however it will benefit the online program by eliminating unforeseen technological problems, as well as neglected infrastructure that may be necessary but would result in substantial extra costs. In addition to the cost feasibility benefits, joining forces with other institutions to develop a shared online program, or with professional online developers, would help in reducing the learning curve by encouraging technology sharing. Finally, by sharing resources, an elite program can be developed with a high level of quality, thus resulting in a competitive advantage for the joint venture or partnership.

Strategic Change in Rules of Competition – Market Retention and Growth

Several strategies may be administered to meet this challenge successfully while maintaining a high level of quality standards comparable to traditional teaching methods. Primarily, the strategy to change must properly address the each stage in the change process in Exhibit 1, especially determining the obstacles for change. Implementation and evaluation of the change will only be effective, accurate and successful if the determined obstacles for innovative change are overcome. Therefore, the strategic procedure is the initial step towards facing the challenge of meeting the strategic change in the rules of competition.
A reactive approach for an institution that has already implemented an online program is to analyze its current status with that of the industry and evaluate themselves by benchmarking against comparable competitors in terms of market share retention and growth. By doing so, the college or university can also assess what changes need to be made to maintain the desirable level of success. In turn, an unsuccessful evaluation will force the institution to return to stage one in the change process and rethink the need for change and determine again the obstacles to change, in hopes of realizing the mistakes that occurred initially.

Quality
Benchmarking

Clearly, by offering a program that is ranked higher in quality than others, a competitive edge of differentiation will result leading to market share growth. The strategic change can therefore reap extensive long-term benefits if successful in adapting to innovation as well as maintaining the level of academic quality in the program. However, when benchmarking, the industry’s level of quality may not be an adequate measure, since it is merely based on competitors rather than on established criteria, yet it serves the purpose of maintaining the necessary level of competition in the industry to rivals.

Student-Teacher Assessment and Evaluation
Accrediting organizations must be able to evaluate the performance of online teaching to determine and achieve the desired level of quality. In order to do this, institutions and educational governing bodies have implemented student and teacher assessment and evaluation systems. Foundations such as the Department for Education and Employment, along with The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) have been established to monitor standards and assure the quality of online education programs (Gilroy, Long, Rangecroft and Tricker 2001, 14-22). These agencies serve to provide a check and balance system between online education and the necessary levels of quality required.

Reward Systems

Currently, many colleges are also finding they must create reward systems that offer incentives to attract quality instructors to their online courses. Many administrators have realized that if they want their faculty to use online technologies to better serve students, they must provide sufficient resources and incentives to make it practical for the faculty to do so. Due to this, institutions are more frequently providing technical and follow-up support for teachers as well as students (Eastman and Swift, 2001). Requirements like these go a long way to ensuring that an institution and its faculty provide students with the best online educational experience possible, thus improving the level of quality.

Third Party Intervention

An ideal solution would be to establish an online education body to set the standards of quality in the industry, monitor, accredit, and consult institutions that seek participation in such a program. This could be a commissioning body that would be a branch of the Commission on Colleges (COC), which is the primary accrediting board for higher-education institutions. A select board whose members consist of experienced personnel in information technology, educators, and quality assurance specialists would govern this new branch. They would provide advice and consultation to institutions that are either planning to have or have already implemented an online program. The division would offer information on the necessities of proper implementation and applicable costs, thus reducing the learning curve for inexperienced institutions.
In addition, it would head assessment and evaluation programs for the industry to rank and benchmark programs based on established educational quality criteria. Online certification would be offered to those programs that meet the quality standards required. This would differentiate complying institutions from non-complying ones and would give a competitive advantage to those programs that are certified, resulting in an overall improvement of quality throughout the industry.

FUTURE OUTLOOK FOR ONLINE DISTANCE LEARNING

Students will continue to demand more educational options and flexibility for their education dollars. Although online supporters have billed technology to serve as a replacement for traditional classroom environments, the reality is that it will take more of a complimentary and supportive role. The idea that online courses will attract large market share and create significant revenues for an institution is unrealistic and unfair. While some schools will prosper in the online arena by offering services and course development assistance to others, the large majority of schools will serve niche markets through specialized course offerings or by focusing on their local geographic region.
Although the technology might be exciting, poor decisions to online implementation can have a devastating affect on budgets as well as for faculty and students. The focus will be to make systems as feasible, thorough, and friendly as possible for users. As technology becomes more qualified, accepted, and reliable, teachers and students will take an increased interest in online offerings.
Information technologies will continue to shape the online education industry as more effective and efficient delivery methods are developed and perfected. Institutions must be cautious not to implement technologies unnecessarily. The technology should not replace a course’s content or design, but rather only serve as a tool to make the course more accessible. The use of more interactive media such as real time audio and video should increase as users become more comfortable. This would include advancements such as teleconferencing and videoconferencing utilities. The result would lead to convergence of technologies that will support one another and further interactivity between teachers and students. By combining a variety of technologies, course developers can ensure quality in their offerings while appealing to various learning methods necessary to adapt to future demand.

CONCLUSION

The higher education industry’s purpose is to provide quality programs that prepare students for occupations and careers. Due to the emergence of demand and the available technology, a numerous amount of educational institutions have rapidly implemented an online distance-learning program, without a proper strategic plan. Many institutions rushed into the virtual learning market to avoid losing market share to those educational establishments that offer this popular and convenient form of education. However, since a majority of colleges and universities penetrated the online market without a true strategy, profitability will greatly suffer and the quality of education will undoubtedly diminish.
The mass production of low quality online programs will have a harmful and severe impact on the online distant learning market. The virtual degree will lose the prestige and perceived value that is supposed to accompany a degree earned from a post-secondary educational institution. Companies seeking employees will be reluctant to recruit and invest in individuals associated with online education or who own a diploma from a college or university offering primarily virtual courses. Regarding employment and job-security, students owning traditional degrees will clearly have a competitive advantage over those who have virtual degrees. This will degrade the degrees from online programs.
Due to these negative effects derived from poor quality programs, demand in this market will dramatically decrease. Institutions that leaped into the online learning arena and invested heavily into it will be forced to incur enormous sunk costs in the long-term. The decrease in demand will once again shift the rules of competition to primarily focus on traditional methods of education and ensuring quality for all forms of learning.
Distance-learning programs should be used to compliment and enhance the educational experience rather than damage it or lessen its credibility and benefits. Colleges and universities must recognize the importance of their industry and not compromise quality in order to earn more revenue and gain market share in the short-term. Institutions that develop well-planned strategies will realize that any behavior that sacrifices quality in the education industry is inappropriate and detrimental to its success. Although the demand for convenient and more flexible ways of obtaining a college degree continues to grow, demand will eventually decrease for unwanted products or services, such as poor quality online distance-learning courses. Students primarily seek academic quality for their return on investment of extensive time and money.
REFERENCES

Banas, Edward J. and Frances Emory. 1998. History and issues of distance learning. Public Administration Quarterly, Fall, 365-383.

Barnes, Richard and Sally Lawton. 1998. Developing distance-learning courses in a “traditional” university. Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 2: 106-111.

Carnevale, Dan. 2001. As online education surges, some colleges remain untouched. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 23 February, A41-A42.

Carr, Sarah. 2001. Is anyone making money on distance education? The Chronicle of
Higher Education, 16 February, A41-A43.

Eastman, Jacqueline K. and Cathy Owens Swift. 2001. New horizons in distance education: The online learner-centered marketing class. Journal of Marketing Education (April): 25-34.

Fisher, Anne. 2000. How good is an online MBA, and how short is short? Fortune 15 May, 1.

Gerencher, Kristen. 1998. MBA programs go online. InfoWorld, 21 December, vol. 20: 71-72.

Gilroy, Peter, Peter Long, Margaret Rangecroft, and Tony Tricker. 2001. Evaluation and the invisible student: theories, practice and problems in evaluating distance education provision. Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 9: 14-22.

Green, Joshua. 2000. The online education bubble. The American Prospect. 23 October, 32-35.

Grimes, Ann. 2001. E-Commerce (A Special Report): Overview---The Hope---And The Reality---Big money is pouring into the business of education; But it’s too soon to tell whether there will be any payoff. Wall Street Journal, 12 March, R6.

Guernsey, Lisa. 1998. NYU starts for-profit unit to sell on-line classes. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 16 October, A32.

Hartley, Darin E. 2001. E-valuation: Price e-learning. Training & Development, April, vol. 55: 24-27.

Hill, Charles W. 2001. Strategic Management Theory. Implementing Strategic Change, 486, 491.

Lee, Chris. 1998. Virtual U. Training & Development, August, vol. 35: 81.

Lord, Deborah and Thierry Volery. 2000. Critical success factors in online education. The International Journal of Educational Management 14 (May): 216-223.

Marshall, Jeffrey. 2001. ‘Distance education’ embraces the Web. Financial Executive, March/April, vol. 17: 46.

Muirhead, William D. 2000. Online education in schools. The International Journal of Educational Management 14 (July): 315-324.

Smith, Lois J. 2001. Content and delivery: A comparison and contrast of electronic and traditional MBA marketing planning courses. Journal of Marketing Education (April): 35-44.

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