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Report: Majority of Students Still Think Online Courses Should Cost Less

In a recent survey from Barnes & Noble Education, the vast majority of college students (94 percent) said they think schools should charge less for online courses. In contrast, less than half of administrators and faculty (43 percent and 41 percent, respectively) believe the same. For the report, Barnes & Noble College Insights, the company's research arm, polled college students, faculty and administrators across the country about their experiences with online learning and campus closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. (It seems that students' belief that online courses don't have the same value of the in-person experience has persisted since last summer, when a separate survey came to the same conclusion.)

All parties — students (67 percent), administrators (61 percent) and faculty (59 percent) — agreed that schools should focus more on affordability. Forty-four percent of students said the pandemic has impact their ability to pay for college, and the same share said they believe the value of college has declined during the pandemic.

When asked about their priorities for online learning, 69 percent of students said they needed more flexibility for attending classes and completing coursework. Far fewer faculty (39 percent) rated flexibility as a priority. Students, faculty and administrators all agreed that better training for professors was key (cited by 51 percent, 55 percent and 55 percent of respondents, respectively).

Interestingly, 82 percent of faculty said they understand the current generation of learners and adapt their lessons accordingly — but only 50 percent of students felt understood by their professors.

Other findings include:

  • Seventy-one percent of faculty and 74 percent of administrators rated budget constraints as the biggest barrier when it comes to implementing technology.
  • Sixty percent of faculty said they are skilled in using current technologies, while 57 percent of administrators consider faculty adept with tech.
  • The majority of faculty and administrators agree that students' access to technology is a current challenge.
  • Eighty-four percent of students said access to career services is important to achieving success. Students wanted more career planning services (cited by 47 percent of respondents), student life services (42 percent) and academic support services (30 percent).

The full report, "College 2030," is available on the Barnes & Noble Education 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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