Responding to the escalating prominence of online learning in higher education, Times Higher Education (THE) has announced the launch of a dedicated league table, the Online Learning Rankings. Scheduled for unveiling in December 2024, this inaugural edition aims to comprehensively evaluate institutions' performance in the realm of digital education.
Participating universities will undergo rigorous scrutiny based on four pivotal criteria: the allocation of resources to online learning, student engagement, student outcomes, and the overall environment for online education. This initiative is timely as an increasing number of universities worldwide embrace online learning for its flexibility and adaptability to diverse learning styles.
THE's data scientist, Billy Wong, stressed the necessity of such rankings in the current educational landscape. Wong explained, "We want to help students understand, much better, the places that are providing an online learning experience, and we think this will provide universities with invaluable insights into their online provisions."
Institutions globally are eligible to participate in the Online Learning Rankings, provided they offer accredited undergraduate or postgraduate programs with teaching, learning, and assessments conducted through online methods. This new league table adds to THE's existing suite of university rankings, showcasing the organization's commitment to expanding its offerings.
The assessment of student engagement will consider interaction with instructors and peers, as well as the usability and convenience of the online learning system. Student outcomes will be measured using data on graduation rates, progress rates, and student recommendations. The learning environment criteria will encompass technical support, offline resources, and the overall community experience for both students and staff.
Duncan Ross, THE's Chief Data Officer, highlighted the new rankings as an addition to the expanding suite of university rankings offered by THE. "This year alone, we launched ground-breaking new rankings on Sub-Saharan Africa and interdisciplinary science, and we will continue to push new boundaries in the work we do and the services we provide," Ross affirmed.
The data collection portal for the Online Learning Rankings will be open from April to June 2024, inviting universities to showcase their commitment to delivering high-quality online education. Universities interested in participating can find more information HERE
Article by RB Correspodent