Tuesday, April 27, 2010

2009 Study Report: Tracking the Impact of eLearning at Community Colleges

The Instructional Technology Council (ITC), an affiliated council of the American Association of Community Colleges, has released a 2009 study titled Trends in eLearning: Tracking the Impact of eLearning at Community Colleges. Fred Lokken, associate dean for the Truckee Meadows (Nevada) Community College WebCollege authored the study that surveyed 226 community colleges across the United States.

Here are some of the key findings as quoted in the study summary:

  • Campuses reported an 22 percent increase for distance learning enrollments, while Sloan-C reports increases in overall campus enrollments averaged less than two percent.
  • Most programs struggle to recruit faculty and offer additional sections to meet the ever-increasing student demand. Older, non-traditional students are attracted to online classes and degree programs since they fit into their busy schedules to offer a solution for career advancement and/or change.
  • Distance education administrators continue to address the need for course quality and design, faculty training and preparation, course assessment, and improving student readiness and retention. Programs are challenged by a lack the staff and resources to be successful.
  • Growth in the use of blended/hybrid and Web-assisted/Web-enhanced/Web-facilitated classes continues.
  • The completion rate gap between distance learning and face-to-face student has significantly narrowed. Completion rates jumped to a reported 72 percent, just below the 76 rate for face-to-face classes.
  • Virtual student services and technology support services remain a priority on most campuses. Not only do students see these services as more convenient, but colleges often find they are more cost-effective than traditional campus-based services.
  • The learning management system (LMS) market remains volatile. The mergers of Blackboard-WebCt and Blackboard-Angel have fostered a great deal of uncertainty.
The ITC survey is in its sixth year.

The full 18-page 2009 report is excellent - concise, informative, well written and a highly recommended read. It's available as free download here.

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