May 11, 2015
Two weeks ago I wrote about the overwhelming research evidence that community college students aren’t doing as well in online classes as they are in face-to-face traditional classes. Students are failing in higher numbers and getting lower grades. That remains true, but it isn’t the whole story.
Peter Shea, who is the associate provost of online learning at the University of Albany SUNY, contacted me to share his research findings. Community college students who take online courses are more likely — 25 percent more likely to be exact — to complete their two-year associate’s degree or some sort of certificate than students who didn’t take any online classes. Not only are online course takers more likely to graduate, they’re more likely to graduate sooner than students who don’t take any online classes, Shea also found. He presented this research in a working paper at the American Education Research Association conference in Chicago in April 2015.