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Survey: More Community College Students Want Access to Online Courses

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A growing number of community college students want online courses going forward, according to a new report from Bay View Analytics and Cengage. Across all current learning modes, 76% of community college students surveyed in spring 2022 want the option to take some courses fully online in the future, up from 68% who said the same in fall 2021.

The Spring 2022 Digital Learning Pulse Survey, conducted by Bay View Analytics on behalf of Cengage in partnership with Association of Community College Trustees, Achieving the Dream, Phi Theta Kappa, the Online Learning Consortium, the Higher Education Research & Development Institute and College Pulse, polled 1,246 community college students about their perspectives on digital learning and preferences for post-pandemic academic experiences. Among the findings:

  • Even among students currently taking in-person courses, 60% want the option to take some courses in a fully online format, up from 55% who said the same in fall 2021. Seventy-six percent of students currently in hybrid courses want access to fully online courses, and 88% of students currently in online courses want the option to take more in the future.
  • When asked how well online courses are meeting their needs, 62% of students gave their spring 2022 online learning experience an "A" grade, compared to only 40% in spring 2021.
  • About half of students (49%) reported that stress is a big problem for them, followed by financial issues (cited by 31% of respondents), level of motivation (29%) and family and health issues (25%)
  • 35% of students said they were unaware of support services provided by their institution. And while 57% were aware of the support services available to them, only 15% had ever used their institution's support services. Among those students who did utilize institutional support services, 85% said the services were very or somewhat effective at helping them deal with stress.

"One thing the pandemic has shown us is that we need to be flexible, and providing that flexibility and support for students will be key to the future of community colleges," commented Jeff Seaman, lead researcher and director of Bay View Analytics, in a statement. "The experience with online and blended/hybrid learning experiences has led students to want more. And while students give their institution good grades, many are still coping with stress — something that can become a major barrier if not addressed."

An infographic and webinar on complete survey results are available on the Cengage site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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