Not all online college courses are alike. In fact, students in California community colleges are more likely to be successful in courses that have been designed recently than ones that are much older. And success varies by course topic, but not always in ways you might expect.
Hans Johnson, PPIC senior and Bren fellow, identified some elements important to a successful online course at a briefing in Sacramento last week. The research suggests that courses designed by a team—including media developers and information technology experts, as well as instructors—are better able than a single faculty member to take advantage of the online medium.
Online learning is an important topic throughout higher education. The report—Successful Online Courses in California Community Colleges—points out the increasing popularity of online offerings at the community colleges. Online learning reaches students who aren’t able to attend classes in traditional settings, Johnson said, and improving it is key to improving student success.