Financing Distance Education in a Time of Economic Challenge

Financing Distance Education in a Time of Economic Challenge

Elizabeth Moore Rhodes (Southeastern Lousiana University, USA), Willie Ennis (Southeastern Lousiana University, USA), Mindy Crain-Dorough (Southeastern Lousiana University, USA), Michael D. Richardson (Southeastern Louisiana University, USA) and Tak C. Chan (Kennessaw State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-074-7.ch021
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Abstract

This chapter examines marketing messages that may persuade older adult learners to enroll in online higher education programs. It builds on a theoretical framework of the factors in adults’ decisions to enroll in higher education programs. A demographic shift has been occurring that will influence the population targeted for academic online educational opportunities. Baby Boomers are becoming older adults, defined as those over the age of 60, and it is projected that these individuals will remain in educational, social service, managerial, and customer service positions past the traditional age of retirement. Yet marketing strategies used by institutions of higher education may be neglecting this population, who will require additional educational opportunities to obtain credentials needed for workplace opportunities (Willis, 2006; Stokes, 2006). In addition, older adult learners do not have time to devote to long educational experiences and must move through the system as quickly as possible, often attending only part time to accommodate work and family needs.
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What Is Distance Learning?

Distance education is not a new concept, but it is rapidly diversifying and morphing into new and challenging alternatives (Casey, 2008). Distance learning is a student-centered instructional format that permits users access to academic offerings without regular campus attendance (Pituch & Lee, 2006). Course objectives of a Distance Learning course are the same as for the on-campus course, the difference being the type of delivery and technology that creates communication opportunities in real time (synchronous) and through delayed (asynchronous) online delivery formats (Gilbert, Morton & Rowley, 2007).

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