Programs offered through distance education or what we might conventionally refer to as online programs actually declined as a percentage of all programs from 10.8% to 10.5% in 2017 and 2016 respectively. This was the first time that distance education has actually declined since this data started being collected by IPEDS in 2013. Further, the number of programs being offered by institution and 6 digit CIP combination declined from 21,748 to 21,339. Not much of a decline, but a decline nevertheless.
It appears that the original lure of distance education seems to have worn off somewhat and whatever works, works well. Whatever is not working is being phased out. Business Management continues to have the highest absolute number of distance education programs, but it is not the highest percentage of programs. The highest percentage of programs offered through distance education is in Organizational Leadership and Educational/Instructional Technology at over 34%. Nursing Administration and Health Care Administration are also high concentrations of distance education at around 31%.
The treemap below shows the distribution of the largest distance education programs (screened for minimum of 150 programs). The size is the raw number of programs while the color is the percentage offered through distance education (blue being highest and red being lowest on diverging scale).