Foundations of Online Higher Education looks first at the origin of distance higher education. It next examines the three phases in the development of distance and online degree programs and the quality standards used to guide and assess them. It then considers data elicited from 25 United States doctoral/research-extensive universities in the five key areas of online institutional activity defined by the regional agencies that accredit all higher education institutions nationally. The findings provide important new information in the areas of: 1) institutional context and commitment, 2) curriculum and instruction, 3) faculty support, 4) student support and 5) evaluation and assessment. An analysis of the data provides critical new understanding in light of both extant research and accrediting agency standards. Implications for online policy and practice are explored in some depth as are a number of directions for further research.