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About the Center for Distance Education Research

Historical Context

In fall 2017, public institutions comprised 70% of all distance education enrollments, followed by private not-for-profits at 18% and private for-profits at 12%. Private not-for-profits increased distance education enrollments by 42% (365,883 students) over the last four-year period and public institutions also increased enrollments by 25% (939,394 students). Private for-profits, however, have decreased enrollments by 20% (199,123 students) since 2013.  


The National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) defines enrollment in distance education courses in two ways: 1) Students who are enrolled exclusively in courses that are considered distance education courses, and 2) Students who are enrolled in some but not all courses that are considered distance education courses but are not enrolled exclusively in distance education courses. In this section, and in each of the following sections, data will be provided for both areas, exclusively and some but not all, to better understand student enrollment patterns.

Who We Are

​The Center for Distance Education Research is a professional organization dedicated to promoting student access, engagement, and success in distance learning.


Who We Serve

The Center serves to generate and inform a renewed interest in distance education in U.S. higher education institutions, and strives to make vital contributions to higher education research, policy, and practice.  We desire to conduct research on the issues affecting distance education and work with colleges and states to improve student access, student engagement, student success, and institutional performance.

Executive Director

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The Center for Distance Education Research was founded by Kevin N. Shriner, Ed.D. in 2014. Kevin has over 25 years of experience in higher education, spending 16 of those years at public and private institutions and 9 years in higher education consulting. During his higher education career, Kevin has collaborated with faculty and administrators to assess academic and institutional preparedness to launch online undergraduate and graduate programs. 


Kevin is a past Fellow for the National Summer Data Policy Institute on the Datasets of the National Center for Education Statistics and National Science Foundation as well as the Association for Institutional Research and National Center for Education Statistics Fellowship Program in Institutional Research 

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The Center for Distance Education Research

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