By Professor Mark Brown
The leaving certificate results were very much the focus of attention in Ireland this week. However, let’s not forget about the parents, caregivers and other family members who may also aspire to pursuing further study and/or returning to university for a higher qualification. After all, university-level education is not just for today’s school leaver.
Results of the annual Babson survey in the United States indicates that almost 6 million students are now studying some or all of their courses at a distance. This figure does not include the increasing number of people undertaking free online courses (MOOCs). A recent report on the state of the Massive Open Online Course estimates that in 2015, 35 million people enrolled in these courses, which is almost double the number from the previous year. Notably, Australia’s recently launched Strategy for International Education (2016) estimates that by 2025 the world’s relatively untapped borderless skills market of online learning will be in excess of one billion students.
This figure begs the question what is driving the growth in demand for new online and flexible models of higher education and how we at DCU are meeting this need?