It’s said you can make statistics mean anything you want. That appears to be the case with a pair of recent surveys focused on how students view their online education.
The National Survey of Student Engagement reported that students earning online degrees felt as connected and engaged as their on-campus peers. The report, which polled more than 350,000 students, singled out the online, competency-based Western Governors University after its students ranked the institution 20% higher than the national average for quality of interaction with faculty and 23% higher for quality of academic support.
On the other hand, students taking online courses at Kent State University said they missed the personal interaction with their professors. A survey of 250 students found they reported online courses to be much harder than expected, but they had more success with an online course when the professor created a personal connection, even if it was done by computer.
"I was surprised that was at the forefront of students’ minds and they were so aware of what was missing from the online classroom,” Bethany Simunich, KSU’s director of online pedagogy and research, said in an article in The Akron Beacon Journal.