Black Colleges Study Distance Learning Patterns

A recent survey by the Digital Learning Lab at Howard University shows that 40 of 103 historically black colleges and universities are offering distance courses this year, up from 29 a year ago. An analysis of that data shows those percentages vary according to the missions of the colleges, the Lab said.

The survey found that two-thirds of public black colleges offer distance programs, compared to only 12 percent of private institutions. Generally, less distance education is offered by black institutions with the highest graduation rates, the survey showed. Among those schools, only Hampton University offers a full degree online.

The study suggests the private black colleges and those with higher graduation rates emphasize "character building" and low student-faculty ratios, goals that may deter them from offering distance courses.

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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