BOSTON, May 18, 2022 – As higher education shifts to a new normal post-pandemic, one aspect that community college students don’t want to give up is access to online courses. Whether currently enrolled in in-person, blended or online courses, the majority of students say they want to take more fully online courses in the future. The Spring 2022 episode of the Digital Learning Pulse Surveydriven by Bay view analysis on behalf of an education technology company engage and industry partners found that three-quarters of community college students (76%) want to take some courses entirely online in the future, up from 68% in fall 2021.
The Digital Learning Pulse Survey is an ongoing research project aimed at understanding how the pandemic is changing higher education. The spring survey had more than 1,600 community college respondents – 1,246 students and 441 faculty and administrators and was conducted by Bay View Analytics on behalf of lead partner and underwriter Cengage, along with the Association of Community College Trustees (ACTC), Fulfill the dream (AT), Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the online learning consortium (OLC), the Higher Education Research and Development Institute (HERDI) and College Pulse.
“Students have made their learning preferences clear, and now institutions must meet the growing demand for quality online courses and provide the flexibility students want and the support services we know they need. to be successful,” said Kevin Carlsten, senior vice president of Cengage’s US Higher Education Institutional Group, who shared deeper insight into the research and what it means for administrators in a recent post. here. “Students are increasingly comfortable with online learning and are taking advantage of its benefits. We will continue to build on this and do so in an affordable and supportive way. »
Key findings from the survey include:
Students are more positive about their learning experiences in Spring 2022 compared to Spring 2021. More two-year students (53%) gave their learning experience an “A” in spring 2022, compared to just 40% in spring 2021. Among students taking courses online, 62% gave an “A” at online learning in spring 2022, compared to just 40% of students in spring 2021.
Regardless of the current course format, students want to take more fully online courses in the future. Eighty-eight percent of students currently take courses online; 60% of students are currently taking in-person classes and 76% of students in blended courses want to take at least some courses fully online in the future.
Stress is the most pressing problem for students. Half (49%) of community college students felt stress was a big issue for them, followed by financial issues (31%), motivation level (29%), and family and health issues (25%) .
Institutions should do more to raise awareness and use of available student support services. Nearly 4 in 10 (38%) community college students did not know their institution offered support services. While more than half of students (57%) were aware of their institution’s services, only 15% had actually used these services. However, of those who have used the services, 85% found them to be effective.
“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,” said Dr. Jeff Seaman, Principal Investigator and Director of Bay View Analytics. “The experience of online and blended/hybrid learning experiences has led students to want more. And while students give their institution high marks, many still struggle with stress – something that can become a major obstacle if left untreated.
“These results represent an important litmus test for community colleges and their leaders,” said ACCT President and CEO Jee Hang Lee. “First and foremost, we are encouraged to learn that most students are very satisfied with their learning experiences. Offering courses online creates new opportunities for busy students to stay engaged in college. At ACCT, we are committed to continuing to work with colleges to find support services that will help more students persevere and complete their journey in higher education.
“These findings are important because they center the voice of the student and offer valuable insights for our colleges to consider as they work to redesign course and service delivery to address student success and challenges. enrollment losses,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, President and CEO. of the realization of the dream. “It is fascinating that over half of students are aware of the plethora of services on our campuses, yet only 15% use the services. How do we bridge this gap? Our students clearly need these supports.
“Community colleges have always worked to meet students where they are, and this research tells us exactly where today’s students are and what they want from us,” said Lynn Tincher-Ladner, President and CEO of Phi Theta Kappa. “In addition to providing college leaders with insight into how students prefer to learn, this research highlighted that our students struggle to feel a sense of personal well-being. As a community of community college leaders, it is our duty to listen to and respond to their needs, academically, personally, and socially. »
“HERDI is happy to be part of this research project. Discover how community college students, faculty and administrators are crucial as this segment serves nearly half of all higher education enrollees,” said Toni Cleveland, CEO of the Institute for Research and Development at higher education (HERDI).
The survey results were presented in a free webinar, “Student, Faculty, and Administrator Perspectives on the Evolution of Digital Learning in the Community College,” and featured a discussion with lead researcher Dr. Jeff Seaman of Bay View Analytics, along with leaders from Achieving the Dream, Ivy Tech Community College, and a student from Beaver County Community College. Click here to access the recording.
Methodology: The Digital Learning Pulse Survey: Student, Faculty, and Administrator Perspectives on Digital Learning was developed by Bay View Analytics in partnership with leading e-learning organizations and underwritten by Cengage. It is based on Community College responses from 1,279 students and 820 faculty and administrators collected between October 20 and November 8, 2021, and responses from 1,246 students, 441 faculty and administrators collected between March 10 and April 8. 2022.
Bay view analysis is a statistical research company specializing in the design, implementation and analysis of surveys. Formerly known as Babson Survey Research Group, Bay View Analytics’ consulting scope includes scientific statistical analysis, clinical trial statistics and survey designs for a range of topics, with a particular focus on online education. Bay View Analytics has been researching and publishing annual reports on the state of online education in American higher education for thirteen years.
engage, the US higher education business of global education technology company Cengage Group, serves millions of teachers, learners and institutions. We provide affordable, high-quality digital products and personalized support to fuel learning one-on-one and at scale. Our customer-centric approach enables innovation, including Cengage Unlimited, the first and only full-access digital subscription for textbooks and course materials. Our textbooks, homework tools, and flagship online learning platforms, MindTap and WebAssign, help teachers and students achieve their goals.
Featured image: Prostock-Studio, iStock.