Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Study: Students Take Easier Courses Online

A small study, Choosing Between Online and Face-to-Face Courses: Community College Student Voices, found students often choose traditional classroom instruction for courses they believe are difficult, such as science and math, rather than take the same class online. Flexibility and convenience are the main reasons students prefer online courses, particularly nontraditional students with jobs and family, but they prefer the interaction with instructors and peers of the traditional classroom setting for subjects of special interest.

The research, done by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teacher College, analyzed information obtained from interviews of 46 students from two unidentified community colleges in the U.S.

“Most students felt they did not learn the course material as well when they took it online,” the report said. “For most students, this deficit was due to reduced teacher explanation and interaction; for some respondents, the weaker student-student interaction was also problematic. As a result, students did not want to risk taking difficult courses online and preferred richer experience of the face-to-face classroom when learning about subjects they felt were particularly interesting or important.”

Students said they preferred a more traditional setting for courses such as math, lab sciences, and languages, because “they needed the immediate question-and-answer context of a face-to-face course,” according to a report in eCampus News

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