US: Plan to rank online colleges

The annual college rankings by US News & World Report, demonised by many college leaders as being overly simplistic yet touted by institutions that score well, will soon expand to include online programmes, write Rachel Wiseman and Jeffrey R Young for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The move is already drawing concern from some long-time distance education leaders, who argue that virtual programmes are even more difficult to compare than traditional ones, in part because they are still so new and untested.

Last week the editor of US News, Brian Kelly, sent an email to hundreds of top college officials announcing the magazine's intention to extensively rank online programmes for the first time in the 28-year history of the popular college guide. Enrolment in online courses shot up by 21% last year, according to the most recent survey of 2,500 institutions by the Sloan Consortium, which promotes online education. The big question is whether colleges and universities will participate in the magazine's survey.
Full report on The Chronicle of Higher Education site