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Sarah Elaine Eaton

Really enjoyed this post. I explored some of these very issues in my Ph.D. dissertation and some of my other research. In my work I try to differentiate between "revenue-generation", "surplus" (a term more palatable to the social sectors) and "profit" (a term used in the business world). Fascinating topic. I was glad to find your post.

Robert Herzog

Agree with Patrick, fabulous blog Lloyd.

Lloyd responds: Thanks, Robert

Katie Read

Great point on "over-subsidization"...

Patrick Blessinger

I like your articles because they always attempt to look at the facts of the issue in what I believe is an unbiased manner. Your willingness to issue correct/update your blogs based on feedback from your colleagues make it a blog I can trust. My guess is that this probably comes from your scientific background where one is trained to be objective and factual. Your articles are not over-simplistic in their discussion of the issues. Yours is one of the few blogs that I trust reading.

Lloyd replies: Thanks, Patrick, for your kind words. I will try to continue listening to my readers, and responding appropriately.

Daniel Clark

As a Ph.D. student in the field of Educational Psychology and former community college faculty member, I have a vested interest in this topic. However, the problem that I see is attrition due to difficulties in self-regulation. Research appears to say that attrition in online learning is quite more excessive than traditional instruction. How do for-profit systems respond to this difficulty? It seems like they take the shotgun approach and get as many in as possible. Am I wrong?

Lloyd replies: good questions, Daniel. I find the data on attrition in online courses rather squishy. The recent Dept of Ed study that did the best job to date of matching and comparing online and traditional courses did not report attrition results. Most of the other studies seem to me to be comparing apples and oranges. Whatever the actual numbers may be, there is a huge effort going on to improve retention in online courses, so retention will almost certainly improve. The better for-profits actually put in a lot of effort to see that students persevere in their courses - they want them to succeed and take more courses, thus creating more income. I would guess that the majority of online courses, both for- and non-profit, are part of programs that are indeed essentially "open admissions". This, of course, complicates the problem of perseverance.

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