Sunday, June 09, 2013

HBCUs' Online & Blended Degree Programs -- 2013

The 2013 edition of the Digital Learning Lab's overview of the state of online and blended degree programs offered by HBCUs is more concise than its predecessors because all of its pages are on the DLL's HBCU-Levers blog site, rather than in a separate PDF file; the directories that contain most of its data were previously published as separate blog notes; and all of its tables and directories have been organized into more compact formats. Readers of this report might also find the DLL's subsequent report "HBCUs -- Online and Blended Degree Programs -- 2014" of interest.

A. Introduction
During the last week in May 2013, the DLL conducted a systematic survey of the Websites of the 106 HBCUs in order to identify their online and blended degree programs. (Note: programs that were announced, but not yet in operation were not included.)

The programs were compiled into a directory; the number of HBCUs offering the programs were tabulated, together with the number that offered online/blended programs in June 2012 (Table 1); the number of programs offered in 2013 were tabulated, together with the number offered in 2012 (Table 2); the number of programs that could be classified as "professions or applied sciences were tabulated (Table 3); and the number of programs in more specific categories were tabulated (Table 4). 

Links to the 2013 and 2012 directories appear in Section B. The tables and illustrative charts for the data appear in Section C. Comments about the significance of the limited instances of blended programs in the 2013 survey are presented in Section D. The DLL editor's interpretations of these findings will be published subsequently in separate notes on this blog.

B. Directories of HBCU Online/Blended Degree Programs

C. Analysis ... Tables and Charts
    (1) Number of HBCUs Offering Online/Blended Degree Programs
  • As shown in Table 1 (below), 27 HBCUs offered online or blended degree programs in 2013, which is 3 more than the 24 HBCUs that offered these degrees  in 2012.
  • In both years, some HBCUs only offered one kind of degree, e.g., associates degrees; whereas others offer associates and bachelors degrees; and others offered other combinations, e.g., bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees. As per Table 1, the number of HBCUs offering associates degrees remained unchanged at 3 between 2012 and 2013; the number of HBCUs offering bachelors degrees increased from 15 to 18; the number offering masters degrees increased from 15 to 19;  and 4 HBCUs offered doctoral degrees in both years.
  • In 2013 the 106 HBCUs offered a total of 120 online and blended degree programs at all levels, which is 16 more than the 104 programs offered by the 105 HBCUs in 2012. (Note: Arkansas Baptist College was designated as the 106th HBCU in March 2013)
  • It should be noted that St. Phillips College (TX), a two year institution, accounted for 7 of the 16 new programs offered in 2013; Tennessee State University added 4 programs; North Carolina A&T State University added 2 programs; Southern University at New Orleans, which offered no programs in 2012, offered 2 programs in 2013; while a few other HBCUs decreased their offerings by one or two programs between 2012 and 2013.
  • In summary, the DLL's 2013 survey found the same steady expansion of HBCU online and blended activity as did its 2012 survey -- with the notable exceptions of the substantial additions by St. Phillips College (+7) and Tennessee State University (+4).

Table 1. HBCUs and Online/Blended Degrees
% Change
HBCUs Offering Degrees
Total Degrees Offered

    (2) Number of Online/Blended Programs Offered by Types of HBCUs
  • As shown in Table 2 (below), 21 of the 51 public HBCUs offered online or blended degree programs in 2013; whereas 18 public HBCUs had offered such programs in 2012.
  • By contrast, only 6 of the 55 private HBCUs offered online or blended programs in 2013, the same as in 2012.
  • As shown in Table 2 and Chart 1 (below), public HBCUs offered at least three times as many online and blended degree programs in both years as  private HBCUs
  • The DLL's directories show that Hampton University, a private selective HBCU, offered the most programs, 17 in each year, far more than any other HBCU -- except Tennessee State University at 14 and St. Phillips  College at 13 programs in 2013. ... Watch out, Hampton!!! ... :-)

Table 2. Types of HBCUs Offering Online/Blended Degrees
% Change
Total HBCUs

% HBCUs Offering Degrees

Chart 1. Public vs. Private HBCUs Offering Online/Blended Degrees
     (3) Types of the Programs Offered by HBCUs in 2013
  • Levels of programs
    As shown in Table 3A (below), almost half of the 120 online and blended degree programs offered by HBCUs in 2013 were at the bachelors level (49%) ... followed by masters (31%), associates (15%), and doctoral (6%) degree programs.

    Table 3A. Levels of Progrms Offered by HBCUs in 2013
    Levels Number Percent
    Associates 18 15%
    Bachelors 59 49%
    Masters 37 31%
    Doctoral 6 5%
    Total 120 100%
  • Professions & Applied Sciences vs Others
    In 2012 the Babson Survey Group published the results of a survey, co-sponsored by Inside Higher Education, of the faculty of U.S. colleges and universities, "Conflicted: Faculty and Online Education, 2012."  Babson found that overall that most faculty expressed "more fear than excitement" about growth of online eduction; whereas most of the faculty in the professions and applied sciences expressed "more excitement than fear" about the growth of online education.

    Table 3B (below) show that 101 of the 120 of the online and blended degree programs offered by HBCUs in 2013, i.e., 84 percent, were in the professions and applied sciences -- which suggests that the attitudes of the faculty of HBCUs about online programs are consistent with those expressed by the faculty in all of the nation's colleges and universities about online courses, i.e., HBCUs offered far more programs in the professions and applied sciences than in all other fields combined

    Table 3B. Types of Programs Offered by HBCUs in 2013
    Types Number Percent
    Professions & Applied Sciences 101 84%
    Other 19 16%
    Total 120 100%

  • Subject Areas
    As can be seen in Table 3C (below), HBCUs offered the most online degrees in areas also favored by other colleges and universities for online programs. Thus 32 of the 120 degree programs that were offered in 2013 were in management (broadly defined, 27%), followed by Education (15%), Information Technology (10%), and Nursing (8%).

    Table 3C. Subject Areas of Programs Offered by HBCUs in 2013
    Subject Areas Number Percent
    Management, Administration, Leadership 32 27%
    Education 18 15%
    Information Technology 12 10%
    Nursing 10 8%
    Generic Degrees 9 8%
    Social Sciences 9 8%
    Criminal Justice 8 7%
    Other 22 18%
    Total 120 100%

D. Comments About Blended Programs
  • As per its title, this report was supposed to cover blended degree programs, not just online programs. But as can be seen from the DLL's 2013 Directory, no degree programs were identified on the HBCU Websites as "blended." Indeed, the asterisks (*) in the table denote a few programs that indicated that "Some face-to-face courses may be required" ...  whereas a blended degree program would be defined by its inclusion of face-to-face courses and/or blended courses that delivered more than 30 percent of their content via the Internet (following Sloan-C's definition of "blended")
  • The DLL did not find indications that any HBCUs were using MOOCs as the online "flipped" components of blended courses within any of their degree programs.
  • However, searching the HBCU Websites and the DLL's own database of academic announcements within the last year from HBCUs and related organizations yielded two notices of blended initiatives that hold significant promise --  one by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the other by Fayetteville State University (FSU):

    -- "
    Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Public HBCUs to Develop Academies that Blend Online, Classroom Instruction" (Ron Roach, Diverse Issues, 11/26/12)

    TMCF officials have announced that the initiative aims to launch as many as 10 college prep academies over the next five years at or near HBCU member campuses. TMCF, which counts 47 public historically Black universities as member schools, has turned to Connections Education, a division of education services giant Pearson Education, to provide online instruction and the technical support for the new schools. The 'blended' secondary schools will deliver students a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, while also addressing 21st century learning needs. Designated TMCF member schools will join in the collaboration by hosting the new secondary schools, supporting them with professional development and student teacher placement, and delivering early college programming ... Each fully blended instruction school will be designated as a ‘TMCF Collegiate Academy.’"

    -- FSU
    's Core Blended Learning Project

    "University College and the Office of Online Education solicit proposals to convert FSU core curriculum classes to a blended format for Fall 2013 ... In 2011-2012, FSU participated in a [Gates Foundation] Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) grant to pilot blended courses in selected core courses ... The results demonstrated that blended learning can succeed with FSU students ... In addition to providing equal or better learning outcomes, blended courses have the potential to maximize the use of campus facilities and to increase enrollment.  This is because the blended format can allow more than one course to be scheduled during the same class period as a traditional class.  The attractiveness of reduced commuting for off-campus students should result in increased enrollment, especially in evening or weekend classes."
Related Notes on This Blog:
Effectiveness of Well-Designed Blended Courses for Minority Students:
This Report in the Media: