"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Online versus Traditional (What Do Americans Think?)

Gallup made a name in the business of polling by correctly predicting the results of the US presidential election in 1936. With only 5000 respondents, Gallup unerringly forecast a landslide victory for Franklin D. Roosevelt while Literary Digest which surveyed 2.3 million Americans failed miserably with a prediction of a 57-43 win by Alf Landon, Roosevelt's opponent. Roosevelt won that election by 61-39 in popular votes and captured 523 of the 531 electoral college votes. In the most recent US presidential elections, Gallup did not make the right prediction. It was predicting Romney to win 49-48 over Obama. Obama won 51-47. Polls do become difficult when the differences become comparable to the margin of error. When differences are significant, however, a poll from Gallup is definitely worth our attention. Gallup recently released a poll on how Americans view online versus traditional (face-to-face) education. The results show large differences.

October 5-6, 2013 Gallup
According to Gallup, the above results are based on telephone interviews with 1,025 national adults, aged 18+, conducted October 5-6, 2013. For results based on the total sample of National Adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of error is ±4 percentage points. 

Another piece of the survey asks the respondents to rate the quality of education in 4-year colleges or universities, community colleges, and online schools. The results are presented below:

October 3-6, 2013 Gallup
The numbers are not as close as Obama versus Romney. Thus, Gallup most probably got these numbers right. The differences here are much bigger. Americans, 18 years or older, clearly do not see online courses as equivalent to traditional face-to-face classrooms. These numbers speak for themselves....






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