Thursday, January 31, 2008

Spanning the Digital Divide

This chart indicates how many of our online students access their courses from a high-speed connection rather than a dial-up connection. The results to this question have shown a steady increase over the years away from dial-up, with only 6.5% of the students indicating that they do NOT have a high-speed connection. (Click to view in more detail)

I realize that this doesn't exactly prove that we are bridging the digital divide in the U.S. (after all we are ranked something like 24th in broadband penetration), but it does at least indicate that most of the students who are choosing to take online courses understand the importance of having a high-speed connection.

In this second chart you see how the answers to this question have changed over time.

Obviously, it is not exactly the same chart as above, but it uses the data from the same question asked over six different survey submissions with the answers aggregated as to whether the student indicated use of a high-speed connection or a dial-up connection.

I'm not saying that we can forget about those 6.5% of the students that don't have access to broadband, but I am saying that we can concentrate on more and more rich media content and at the same time have fewer and fewer stuents who need special assistance to not be at a disadvantage because of their connection speed.

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