…clearly demonstrates that, on average:
– Online education is the fastest-growing segment of higher education and its growth is overrepresented in the for-profit sector.
– A wide range of audiences and stakeholders—including faculty and academic leaders, employers and the general public—are skeptical about the quality and value of online education, which they view as inferior to face-to-face education.
– Students in online education, and in particular underprepared and disadvantaged students, underperform and experience poor outcomes. Gaps in educational attainment across socioeconomic groups are even larger in online than in traditional coursework.
– Online education has failed to improve affordability, frequently costs more, and does not produce a positive return on investment.
– Regular and substantive student-instructor interactivity is a key determinant of quality in online education; it leads to improved student satisfaction, learning, and outcomes.
– Online students desire greater student-instructor interaction and the online education community is also calling for a stronger focus on such interactivity to address a widely recognized shortcoming of current online offerings.

Spiros Protopsaltis and Sandy Baum

Protopsaltis, S., & Baum, S. (2019). Does Online Education Live Up To Its Promise? A look At the Evidence and Implications for Federal Policy. The Laura and John Arnold Foundation, 1(January), 1–52. Retrieved from http://mason.gmu.edu/~sprotops/OnlineEd.pdf (link doesn’t work, updated link here)

Counter-point: Deeply Flawed GMU Report on Online Education Asks Good Questions But Provides Misguided Analysis, by Phil Hill