When UCF students rate their courses at the end of the semester, blended learning classes (combining in

-person and online instruction) have received the highest marks. Fully online classes, and then traditional classroom courses, rank the next highest in student satisfaction.

“It’s not that face-to-face classroom is low, it’s that these others have risen to the top,” Hartman said.

At Florida International University, history professor Brian Peterson teaches both online and traditional classes. In his face-to-face classes, he also uses the online teaching platform – Peterson might give a 15-minute lecture and then break up the students into research teams, or they may evaluate each other’s written papers online.

“What we’re doing in class is interacting. … It’s making face-to-face classes better,” Peterson said.

Easier online

Still, Peterson has mixed emotions about the rise of fully online classes. He said he has noticed that students in his online classes seem less engaged (with less-frequent attendance, for example) and that they often sign up for online classes assuming the course will be easier in that format.

The course does end up being easier online, Peterson said, if only because he can’t push these unmotivated students as far.

“You have to set the bar lower online if you want to keep an acceptable number of students,” Peterson said. “Yeah, it bothers me, but I think that my job is to do the best I can with the circumstances that I have.”