The Pursuit Of Excellence: 3rd-Party Rankings And Positioning Of Online Programs Through Quality And Value

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Ashley Kilburn
Brandon Kilburn
Kevin Hammond
Denise Williams


Online Education Rankings, Business Education, 3rd Party Rankings


Third-party ranking agencies (e.g., US News and World Report, Center for Online Education, produce rankings that are a popular publicly accessible search option for potential students as they sort online degree options. While higher education administration is keen to the possibility that most or all ranking systems risk methodological flaws, potential students are still on board with rankings and seem significantly steered by their results (Barkhorn, 2014). Monitoring rankings has become a positioning consideration for academic institutions. The disparity amongst ranking factors across time and across assessor, along with the mismatch between ranking methods used and suggested methodologies from research on higher education begs the question: which attributes are colleges and universities supposed to leverage? This study reports a fully mediated SEM using data from online student feedback across multiple quality touch points: faculty, LMS and course on student loyalty as mediated by perceived value.


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