Online consortium will close due to declining revenues

Posted: May 8th, 2018

The Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium, which works with the states public institutions on online programs and technology, announced it will shut down, ending a 20-year digital institutional collaborative, according to Inside Higher Ed. While no closure date is set, consortium officials said they want to keep some of its most productive programs after shutting down.

The consortium, which is partially funded by the state, cites decreased enrollment and budget cuts as key elements of its closure. Much of its operation was driven by revenues from online instructional design, consulting, web integration and system hosting, and expanded over its history to service the state's K-12 districts and state agencies.

Some officials say that the system could re-emerge in a different form, citing a similar example from the University of Texas, which ended its TeleCampus program in 2012 and rebuilt the program as the UT Online Consortium.

As surprising as it may seem for an online learning management hub to be closing, given the expansion of distance learning throughout higher education, some colleges and universities may be recalibrating their academic delivery approaches to focus on attracting diverse learners to campus with strategic program offerings and services.

Recent data suggest that students perform better with a blend of online and on-campus learning opportunities. With more systems looking to attract adult learners with increased access through online programming and traditional course offerings, there are reasons to believe that online learning isn't the primary tool in attracting these students to campus or retaining them.

However, many institutions will need strategic responses to keep pace with the prospect of for-profit institutions re-emerging and smaller institutions and community colleges offering free tuition or competency-based learning modules.

Source: Jarrett Carter