Friday, June 30, 2017

Online Students: What do we know about them?

Interesting report from the 2017 Online College Students survey. Things we should have guessed, but nice to see validated. What did students say? They want an engaging, quality education. They want to be a part of a community, and want their instructor to be accessible. Online students are students first, and want what students have always wanted. To make meaning of the world. And yes, as "non-traditional students" become the tradition, more than 1/4 of the 20 million students now in college are taking some number of online courses. They want flexible, technology-infused choices. 

At UW Tacoma, we're still behind the demand curve, with 15% of our students signing up for all our online courses within hours of opening for registration. They want more reduced seat time options, but not at the cost of quality. The want to love their courses, but they WANT online and hybrid courses. (This summer, a course with an enrollment cap of 30 had almost 80 students put their name on the waiting list, but no one dropped the course. Eight of the top 10 Wait List courses were online. The other two were pre-reqs that students desperately need. We're working on listening to the needs of our students, but change is hard.)

We hear you, students of UW Tacoma and the 5 million+ now taking online courses. We're working on it.