Bottom Line: Online courses and degrees offer immense potential for increasing college access, decreasing the cost of education, and providing expanded options for learning. Still, overcoming the public's views on technology could be difficult. For instance, despite lots of media and industry buzz about the personalized nature of online instruction, Americans still view traditional, classroom-based education as better tailored to each individual.
Although this poll does not explicitly mention MOOCs and addresses online education in general, it has MOOC written all over it. With the large public attention MOOCs have drawn over the past year, with articles in the New York Times and Time Magazine, with senators and the president paying attention to them, it is inevitable that the public image of online education is at least tainted by MOOCs.
And what does the public think? They are cautious, see opportunities and value for money, but still mainly put their faith in the publicly funded educational system if it comes to the value of a degree and the quality of teaching and testing. Gallup concludes that "… if leaders in the field [of online education] want online learning to have equal status with campus-based programs, they need to do more to demonstrate high standards for instruction, testing, and grading.
This suggests we should want online education to replace campus-based education. I am not so sure we should want this. I find another finding from the poll more interesting. People don't think online learning can be tailored to fit the needs of the individual learner (a difference of 18 percent points between those who do and those who don't think so, see picture). Perhaps this goes for xMOOCs, but cMOOCs and other forms of networked learning are designed to put the learner in the driver's seat. So also in this respect, online learning has a lot of convincing to do, and the current debate about xMOOCs isn't helping, I'm afraid. @pbsloep
Note: thanks are due to Peter Waterhouse, who brought this poll to my attention via the Association for Learning Technology's Members discussion list.