The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: The Matthew Effect in Online Education

Amany Saleh, Heath Sanders


In our globally and technologically connected world, many universities raced to offer online, college degrees to populations who otherwise would not have access to higher education. They promised high quality, rigorous, flexible, accessible, and affordable programs. Colleges and universities pledged to support these students to ensure theirsuccess within an online environment. However, Canchola (2011) argued that online students rarely receive the support they were promised. Sandeen and Barr (2006) argued many online programs increase students’ dissatisfaction with higher education and increase their drop-out rate. As a result, such programs rather than help students achieve their goals; they set them back academically and financially. This serves only to intensify The Matthew Effect for students. The authors offer recommendations for alleviating TheMatthew Effect and share guidelines for maintaining high quality, responsive online education.


The Matthew Effect; online education; Higher education

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RISE - International Journal of Sociology of Education | ISSN: 2014-3575

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