A survey of working adults conducted by Opinion Research Corp. revealed that 54 percent believe that college courses offered via the Internet are the future of higher education.
The telephone survey was commissioned by Capella University, an online institution of higher learning and was conducted among 667 working adults in February of 2000.
The study also found that while people see education as a top priority, busy schedules (42 percent) and family and travel commitments (10 percent) may keep people from continuing their education. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents said they are interested in continuing their education, but 48 percent said that a busy schedule is the biggest barrier to hitting the books, one-third cited high costs as an impediment.
Assuming the quality of education was the same, 32 percent of respondents said they would rather take courses through the Internet than go to a classroom. More than half (53 percent) of respondents said the biggest benefit of taking courses online was the ability to work from home, while 19 percent cited time saved from not having time to commute.
A substantial majority (63 percent) of respondents said nighttime was the right time for courses, including 22 percent who said late night was an ideal time. Another 12 percent said early morning before they went to work was a good time. Given the option of studying in exotic locations around the world, 34 percent of respondents opted to stay at home with their family, topping choices such as a cabin in the mountains, a tropical beach, and a world tour.
Respondents also said the idea of dressing casually for class. More than half (54 percent) said the greatest advantage of taking courses from home was the ability to attend call in their pajamas.
Looking 50 years down the road, more than three-quarters of adults said they believe the Internet will play a major role in higher education, including 39 percent who said the Internet would make classrooms obsolete. Only 2 percent believed higher education would not change.