Dear “e-mentor” Readers,

The Ministry of Science and Higher Education systematically gathers data about the higher education institutions in Poland – the way how they operate and the number of students enrolled. Every HE institution is obliged to submit the data electronically to the POL-on system, what enables flexible management of them and constitutes a reliable source for big data analysis. The solution is relatively new and not every institution can afford to fulfil the ever growing demand for data. However, it should be stressed that the cognitive benefits outperform the efforts necessary to collect and submit all data required by the system. A good example of such benefits is the data regarding e-learning activities at Polish HE institutions, especially the number of students participating in online studies i.e. the studies in which the total amount of online classes reaches the level of 50-60% (the second value reflects the upper limit imposed by the regulation of the ministry). Since 2014 it is compulsory to provide this type of data. However, the numbers collected in the POL-on system are not really impressive: in November 2014 there were 3721 online students and 1004 graduates reported by 16 HE institutions. Judging by the absence of the considered data from some major providers of online education it can be assumed that the registry is not complete, probably because not every institution submitted the exhaustive description (i.e. have not filled in all the fields required) and therefore the numbers indicated above are underestimated. A brief journalistic inquiry has proved that assumption, some institution are even unaware of that functionality of POL-on. At the same time a similar data submitted to GUS (Central Statistical Office of Poland) is much more complete and better reflects the current state of e-learning in Poland. It is highly desirable for future reporting periods to raise the awareness of the issue and, in consequence, to collect more comprehensive data. This is also the task for everyone involved in e-learning at the tertiary education level: to encourage submitting the appropriate data by the institution we work for. The more information is provided the more complete picture of the Polish e-learning we will all get.

Chief editor
Marcin Dąbrowski