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7.Must include instructor communication: Only 10 percent of respondents thought online instruction was not as good as their in-class instruction; yet, when asked about their concerns with online instruction, 21 percent reported “Inconsistent/poor contact and communication with instructors,” and 17 percent reported “Inconsistent/poor quality of instruction. ” When respondents were asked if they would prefer online tutorials, independent study or instructor-led classes, only about one-third favored instructor-led online classes, which is the predominant format offered currently. One-third would like a faculty member as their advisor, and about half would find optional internships and on campus courses attractive.

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8.Must offer fully online…but also blended: When asked if they would attend on-campus classes if their program was not available online, about 30 percent of respondents said they probably or definitely would not. About one-quarter said they probably or definitely would not attend a hybrid or low-residency program. However, “although some students prefer never going to campus and never participating in synchronous online learning activities, a significant percentage is interested in on-campus activities, classes and internships,” notes the report. About half of the respondents indicated they would attend a hybrid or low-residency option if their program was not available fully online. 22 percent indicated “One or more optional on-campus courses” was very attractive.

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9.Must have transparent data: The data in this report indicate that substantial numbers of students are interested in knowing more about features that institutions could use to distinguish themselves, such as price, self-study options, faculty advisors or job placement rates. Additionally, respondents reported that they selected an institution based on a variety of information such as tuition, admission requirements and available programs, all of which should be available on a college’s website.

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10.Must market to all ages: The survey found that while online education has traditionally been marketed toward adult learners, more and more students under 25 years of age are choosing to study online for their undergraduate degrees.

For much more information on the survey, including methodology and in-depth findings and recommendations, read the full report, “Online College Students: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences.

About the Author:

Meris Stansbury

Meris Stansbury is the Editorial Director for both eSchool News and eCampus News, and was formerly the Managing Editor of eCampus News. Before working at eSchool Media, Meris worked as an assistant editor for The World and I, an online curriculum publication. She graduated from Kenyon College in 2006 with a BA in English, and enjoys spending way too much time either reading or cooking.


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