Community College Online

I am a little late posting this report by The New America Foundation on online learning in the community colleges. Some of the findings in the report came directly from research on the VCCS done by the Community College Research Center. Findings such as this:

Given the lack of large-scale studies about online education in the public two-year sector, the Community College Research Center published a longitudinal study in 2013 that explored how well students in Virginia’s and Washington’s community colleges fared in online versus face-to-face courses. The study’s authors found that overall, student performance decreased in online courses. On average, if a student took a course online rather than face-to-face, the likelihood he would withdraw from the course increased by six percent. For those students who did complete online courses, the authors found that their final grades were lower by 0.3 GPA points (for example, a change from a B+ to a B).

Not exactly what we want to hear, but useful nonetheless.

I am still digging through the report but thought I would share the link for anyone interested in reading it.


  • Cheryl Huff

    This shows we still have plenty of work to do, repairing retention and success. Possibly the inclusion of OER resources will help, as they have in the ELI OER programs.

    • Richard Sebastian

      I think OER can help, mostly in terms of redesigning courses around more engaging, relevant materials. However, I think this is mainly an issue of student preparedness and teacher preparation.

  • Our GCC QEP, and Reynolds after us, focused on student, instructor and institutional preparation for online learning – their readiness. We still need to do more; as Hamlet says, “The readiness is all…”
    Online students often don’t buy required materials, like textbooks, because the instructor can’t see them in a physical classroom, without a book in hand – virtual hiding. It would be interesting to get data about failure to buy required texts, f2f

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