During the first week of October, Gallup polled U. S. adults on their opinion of online education. in the U. S.
They found that online education was rated as better than traditional education at providing value and a variety of courses. On the other hand, the respondents see student success as more likely in traditional classes. They also rate traditional classes as better at individualized instruction and delivering high-quality instruction from well-qualified instructors. They see traditional classes as more likely to have rigorous testing and grading that can be trusted, which correlates with a belief that they are more likely to be viewed positively by employers. Here is a summary of the results:
The survey was done over the phone (50% cell and 50% landline) and the results are weighted in proportion to U. S. demographics. Gallup says they are 95% confident that the results are within +/- four percent.
Five percent said they were currently taking an online course and they tended to be relatively young and focused on school work as opposed to job skills or recreation.
These results are indicative of general public opinion, which may give some insight into the future of public funding for online education as well as its worth in the job market, but I wish they would survey people who have recently or are currently taking a class online -- asking what they were taking, why they took it, whether it was massive, open, a traditional college class online, etc.
For this survey, I have the impression that many of the people who were taking online classes did so as part of a degree program, but that is not made clear. I hope Gallup will follow up with surveys of online students.