Christian colleges may lose students and face a fight for survival if they do not embrace the technological challenges of the twenty-first century, leaders from Coalition for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) institutions predict.
"If Christian students can pick up a quarter of their courses from the Internet, then Christian colleges are going to lose students," says Mike Zastrocky, a member of the Council on Technology committee of the CCCU, an association of 91 schools.
At an October conference at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, on the future of Christian higher education, CCCU vice president Karen Longman stressed the importance of Christian schools "tapping the best of technology for the kingdom" by using distance learning. "If we don't get moving, then someone else will." Currently, 40 percent of CCCU schools have plans to produce distance-learning courses for students in the current academic year.
READY-MADE MARKET: The demand for distance-education courses on the Internet can be huge. Zastrocky notes that a consortium of community colleges in Phoenix offered 25 courses over the Internet for the first time this fall, and beginning enrollment totaled 2,500.
The number of distance-education courses at the undergraduate level is increasing rapidly. A survey conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics found that by next fall, 90 percent of all educational institutions with enrollments of 10,000 or more students expect to be offering distance-education courses. More than 750,000 students were enrolled in distance-education courses in 1994-95. The majority of these students—55 percent—attended public community colleges. There are currently almost 10,000 college-level courses offered ...1