Business and Academic Interests in the Maintenance of Standards in Online Higher Education
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This article questions whether there is a conflict between the academic and business interests of a university in addressing grade inflation. A survey of online master’s degree students at a British university was carried out. It asked students about a number of possible changes aimed at reducing the sacrifices involved in gaining a degree; making it less likely that students would fail modules or their degree; and reducing the degree drop-out rate to almost zero. Changes in the perceived value of a degree or the university’s perceived reputation were measured. The conclusion is that students saw such changes as reducing the value of their degree. The research suggests that in certain circumstances, academic and business interests can be aligned in opposing grade inflation.