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Why are there so few fully online BA/BS programs in traditional “arts and sciences” disciplines?

John Sener (John Sener is a Learning Consultant and Associate at the Sloan Center for Online Education (SCOLE), Silver Spring, Maryland, USA.)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 1 March 2002



Although online learning in American higher education is growing rapidly, online degree and certificate programs are usually either general or career‐oriented. Notably lacking are fully online bachelor degree programs in the traditional liberal “arts and sciences” disciplines; a recent research inquiry found only a very few such programs are currently available. The availability of fully online degree programs is important for providing maximum access to education for geographically dispersed, highly mobile, and other learners. Available programs in liberal arts disciplines may also be an indicator of online learning as a well‐regarded degree pathway. There may be several possible explanations for the current lack of these programs, such as lack of market demand, logistical obstacles, and greater focus on blended learning delivery approaches. Despite current obstacles, rising demand for online courses, increased partnership ventures, and other factors suggest an emerging market which will result in greater future availability for such programs.



Sener, J. (2002), "Why are there so few fully online BA/BS programs in traditional “arts and sciences” disciplines?", On the Horizon, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 23-28.




Copyright © 2002, MCB UP Limited

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