TOP 25 COURSES Subcommittee: Online vs Traditional

View the TOP 25 COURSES Subcommittee PowerPoint


Quantitative Data Analyzed:
Online versus traditional delivery success rates in gatekeeper courses and elsewhere.
Major Findings of Data Analysis:
  1. Success rates are significantly lower in online classes.
  2. Online versus traditional is the single biggest college-wide gap we found in gatekeeper courses, (excepting the gap between current and desired success rates). Closing the online gap would yield more additional completions than the next largest gap, 20-24-year-olds.
  3. Success gaps in gatekeeper courses can be 20% or more between online and traditional classes.
  4. More than a third (35%) of first semester students take at least one online course and 11% take only online courses.
  5. In Fall 2009, 831 new students took both online and traditional courses: 77% had 2.0+ GPAs for their traditional courses and 64% had 2.0+ GPAs for their online courses (W’s excluded).
  6. In Fall 2009, 184 instructors taught both traditional and online classes: while the GPA difference was slight (.05), 87% had 2.0+ GPAs for their traditional courses and 82% had 2.0+ GPAs for their online courses.
  7. A comparison of 1062 first term Fall 2009 students and 4297 2nd+ term students enrolled in Fall 2009 showed that while the gap remains between students taking both online and traditional classes that term, it closes from 16% to 9% after that first term.
  8. In other words, the experience level of the student matters, and so does the experience level of the instructor. Even so, it isn’t just the students or the instructors but the delivery method itself that we need to ameliorate.
Other Information Regarding the Decision Making Process:
Considering all campuses, number of classes offered on-line is 2nd only to the number of classes offered at Central Campus.
Suggested Qualitative Data Needed:
We need to know what exactly causes lower success rates in online versus traditional courses. Why does the same student do worse in an online course than in a traditional course?
Resulting Priority:
Increase success rates in online curriculum classes.
January 2011