Digital transformation has demonstrated a significant influence to the higher education landscape as predicted by the borderless education advocates. However, the number of students pursuing online degrees still varies among countries. In Australia, there is a significant growing number of domestic students taking up online degrees in 2016 as compared to the figures 10 years ago, in accordance to the Department of Education and Training data. Despite so, international students in Australia are prohibited from completing their entire course online. On the contrary, in other countries such as UK and South Korea, online education has demonstrated to not be a popular choice among students.
Further, the scale of total online provision of a cross-border education is still be insignificant. There are approximately 150,000 international students enrolled in Australian qualification with two-thirds of which in university programmes. Fundamentally, all school and vocational education students, and more than 90% of those in higher education are studying on a branch campus or with a local partner institution. This is in-spite of the long-term prediction that students who are unable to move across borders for education will choose to seek out foreign study options online. In addition, the same pattern can be observed in a UK transnational education.
There are a few reasons why students do not enrol in foreign online degrees.
First, there are still common biases against online learning from students and governments worldwide despite the improving quality of student experience due to enhanced bandwidth and increasingly engaging curriculum framework.
Many governments are still sitting on the fence with regards to online foreign degrees due to the belief of an inferior quality of online study, legitimate providers are difficult to distinguish from those online and the perception that online student fraud is prevalent.
Second, the reputation of online providers is not as widespread as imagined. Two dynamic online providers – Melbourne’s Swinburne and Barcelona’s Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, had reported enrolling most of their online students from their home state.
Third, foreign online education is exceptionally expensive. Online provision still fail to deliver significant economies of scale mainly due to personal engagement with learners being exceedingly labour intensive.
Therefore, how can universities resolve the above identified challenges of a global online higher education? Join us in the upcoming QS-APPLE 2018 from 21-23 November 2018 in Seoul, South Korea, as we discuss the topic on “Future Universities in the Asia-Pacific: The Changing Face of Higher Education”.