U.S. News is going full speed ahead on data collection for the upcoming Top Online Education Programs rankings to be published in early 2013. New this year is our first attempt to do a reputational survey for all online degree programs we are surveying: bachelor's degrees, and master's degrees in business, computer information technology, education, engineering, and nursing.
Schools that were ranked or too new to be ranked in the U.S. News 2012 Top Online Programs rankings received postcards last week soliciting their participation. The online reputation survey questionnaire asks respondents to rate the overall excellence of other schools' online degree programs on a 1-5 scale.
The results, which we hope can be incorporated in the upcoming rankings, aim to provide U.S. News and our readers valuable insight regarding how programs are viewed by experts in the field, and may also account for measures of program quality that are not fully encapsulated through the statistical questionnaires currently being completed.
The deadline for schools to submit the statistical surveys is close of business this Friday, September 21. Those who need extra time should request an extension from the data collector listed in the E-mail they received from U.S. News, or from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Survey recipients may have noticed significant changes to the questionnaires since last year. This is because U.S. News incorporated input from stakeholders since publishing the inaugural 2012 rankings. As a result, this year's surveys had more detailed instructions on how schools can report on their online education cohorts, and asked questions in ways more consistent with how programs already collect and report data on these students.
Feedback on the surveys and rankings methodologies came from one-on-one interviews with ranked and unranked programs from each academic discipline; a webinar facilitated by EmbanetCompass that was attended by a multitude of its members that offer online degrees; and a survey of 47 anonymous online education academics in collaboration with WCET.