Congressional eLearning caucus could prove its worth in 2013

Analysts doubt Congress will finalize HEA reauthorization in 2013.

Online education advocates will have a legislative dog in the fight to reauthorize the Higher Education Act next year, thanks to a rare bipartisan charge to include web-based courses in national policy discussions.

The HEA, a law first passed in 1965 and last reauthorized in 2007, is due for an update next year. And while the occupant of the White House and the composition of Congress could be much different by January, educational technology leaders for the first time have a team of Congressional representation in the newly-formed eLearning caucus.

The caucus, formed in October by Congress members from the House’s political poles, will help push eLearning to the forefront of the legislative haggling sure to ensue when HEA reauthorization takes center stage, policy experts said.…Read More

Online learning caucus coming to Congress

Members of the eLearning caucus have not been announced.

Two members of Congress formed an eLearning caucus last month–a much-needed Capitol Hill forum, educators said, after a recent survey showed Congressional representatives and their staffers lacked a basic understanding of online education.

Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., a conservative House member, and Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., among his party’s most liberal members, created the eLearning caucus Oct. 5 to “promote research on successes and failures in eLearning so that federal education funds are used prudently, and to ensure policy is aligned with practice,” according to a “dear colleague” letter written by Noem and Polis.

A poll conducted this year by the Presidents Forum, a group of online colleges that primarily serve adult learners, showed policy makers were unfamiliar with up-to-date web-based learning. Many on Capitol Hill thought distance learning was still conducted primary through correspondence classes, and survey respondents said online programs were only equivalent to classroom learning if a large institution created and administered the curriculum.…Read More