Community college students have made their online learning preferences clear, and institutions must meet the increasing demand for flexibility and high-quality online courses

Moving forward, online learning is king


Students have made their learning preferences clear, and institutions must meet the increasing demand for flexibility and high-quality online courses

As higher education transitions to a new normal following the pandemic, one aspect community college students don’t want to give up is access to online courses. Whether currently enrolled in in-person, hybrid or online courses, the majority of students say they want to take more courses fully online in the future.

The Spring 2022 installment of the Digital Learning Pulse Survey, conducted by Bay View Analytics on behalf of edtech company Cengage and industry partners, found that three-quarters of community college students (76%) want to take some courses fully online in the future, up from 68% in the Fall of 2021.

“Students have made their learning preferences clear, and now institutions have to meet the increasing demand for quality online courses and provide the flexibility students want along with the support services we know they need to be successful,” said Kevin Carlsten, Senior Vice President of the U.S. Higher Education Institutional Group at Cengage, who shared further insight into the research and what it means for administrators in a recent article here. “Students are getting increasingly comfortable with online learning and are enjoying its benefits. We will continue to build on that and do it in an affordable, supportive way.” 

Key takeaways from the survey include:

Students are more positive about their learning experiences in Spring 2022 vs. Spring 2021. More two-year students (53%) gave their Spring 2022 learning experience an “A” compared to only 40% in Spring 2021. For those students taking online courses, 62% gave online learning an “A” in Spring 2022, compared to only 40% of students in Spring 2021.

Regardless of current course format, students want to take more courses fully online in the future. Eighty-eight percent of students are currently in online courses; 60% of students are currently in, in-person courses and 76% of students in hybrid courses want to take at least some courses fully online in the future.

Laura Ascione