• Current and Future Demand for Distance Education

      McDiarmid, Williamson, G.; Hill, Alexandra; Hull, Teresa; Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1998)
      “Distance education” means education or training where the instructor is not in the same room with the students. It doesn’t necessarily mean, as the attached maps and figures show, that all students live far from campuses (although many do). In this summary we first highlight our findings and then list questions raised and recommendations made by provosts in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau after they reviewed a draft of this report. A third of distance education students in the Fall 1997 semester, for instance, lived in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau. Distance education courses are offered over television, through audio or video conferencing, by mail, over the Internet, and through combinations of those methods. During the Fall 1997 semester, 4,115 students in 178 Alaska locations (and a few places outside Alaska) were enrolled in 293 distance education courses offered through the University of Alaska. ISER also interviewed representatives of 33 organizations that operate primarily in rural Alaska—because in many remote places, distance education courses are among the few sources of postsecondary education and training available locally. We asked rural employers whether they were satisfied with current distance education offering and what kinds of job openings they foresaw.
    • The University of Alaska: How Is It Doing?

      Kassier, Theodore; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2008)
      Recent reports on higher education in the U.S. say it’s in trouble— that it’s too expensive, doesn’t offer enough need-based aid, isn’t educating people for today’s jobs, doesn’t demand enough of instructors or students, and isn’t sufficiently accountable to policymakers and taxpayers.1 Is the University of Alaska (UA)—the state’s only public university —offering a good, affordable education for Alaskans? This paper looks at that question. It first presents the available data on various measures and then summarizes successes and continuing challenges for UA. It ends with a discussion of how UA and the state are addressing higher-education issues and what other steps they might consider. UA has made substantial progress on a number of goals in the past decade. For example, it’s attracting a growing share of Alaska’s college-bound freshmen, and it’s educating many more students for jobs in high-demand areas like health care and technology. The school’s overall retention and graduation rates are improving. But UA also faces many of the same issues as other public universities— like sharp increases in tuition and significant numbers of students who come out of high school unable to read, write, or do math at college-level.