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Reports from Policy Analysts

Online Courses in Higher Education

Submitted On: Monday, August 4, 2014

Analyst: Walker, Janice/Rhetoric and Composition Journal Editors

In July 2014, Senator Jack Hill reported an increase in online course offerings throughout the University System of Georgia from 1571 in 2009 to 4737 in 2013, representing a 201.5% increase. “These courses,” he notes, “are designed to not only be a time and cost effective alternative to traditional programs, but some have also been created to get students to graduate in less time than the average traditional student.”


In “Notes from the Senate, August 1, 2014,” Senator Hill further argues that


In the Appropriation Bill for fiscal year 2015, the University System of Georgia was directed by the General Assembly to, "Develop a strategic plan for increased utilization of online educational resources and pricing structure reflective of costs associated with providing such education."  The University System, at the end of their research, should be able to provide a tuition structure for online courses. In response to this directive, the University System has assembled the Task Force on New Models of Instruction to examine implementation pathways for online courses. The System has also created a new system office position that will be dedicated to advancing affordable degree completion options for students. Hopefully the findings of the Task Force will allow Georgia to not only expand online course opportunities but also create a tuition model that will provide affordable access to Georgia residents hoping to advance their education.

 Forces are moving to accelerate online courses and degree programs.  Rising tuition prices, the concern over student debt and the rapid growth and availability of technology is pushing colleges and universities, some screaming and resisting all the way, into the bold new world of competitive pricing for higher education.  Those that are nimble and quick to seize the advantages in pricing that on-line courses can offer will gain headway in what will become a more competitive market place over the next years.


The Georgia BOR and Senator Hill do not specifically discuss writing courses, nor do they address the effectiveness of these courses beyond the issues of cost-effectiveness and time-to-graduation. The CCCC Position Statement on Principles and Example Effective Practices for Online Writing Instruction (OWI) is available at

Academic Level

Higher Education



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