Students: Online courses require more discipline

Online college courses, while extolled for their convenience, accessibility, and low cost, demand more of students who go the nontraditional route, according to findings in a recently released study.

Three in four students say they’re satisfied with online education.

Six in 10 community college students who responded to a survey conducted by the nonprofit Public Agenda said web-based classes require more discipline than simply attending an in-person class. One in 10 said web-based classes require less discipline than in-person classes.

That’s reflected in the 38 percent of student respondents who said online classes are harder to pass than their traditional counterparts. Eighteen percent said online courses are easier.

Perhaps most disturbing for online education advocates: Four in 10 college students said they learned less online than they did in classrooms and lecture halls.

The results from the study, called “Not Yet Sold,” fly directly in the face of previous findings that showed 75 percent of online college students said they were satisfied with their educational experience, compared to 55 percent of traditional college students.

“Just as online education itself is rapidly changing, we expect student and employer attitudes to shift as well,” the report’s authors wrote. “Still, we need to consider the skepticism of those on the ground, especially if we hope to avoid any unintended consequences.”

Employers surveyed by Public Agenda were largely in agreement with students who said online classes demanded a more disciplined approach.

See Page 2 for more web-based class concerns…