Students Taking Online Courses Graduate at 50% Higher Rates

In this morning’s edition of “The More You Know” we explore Tri-C’s data behind success rates for students who take online courses.

Did you know that students who take online courses have a 50% higher graduation rate?

This data was taken from the three-year graduation data of Tri-C students who started in years 2010, 2011, and 2012 through our Office of Evidence and Inquiry.  And yes – that was 50% higher!

What about students who take online courses only?

You would think there’s a gap, right?  You would be right!  Interestingly there is a .6 point difference between students who take online only courses and all students – .6 points lower for students who take online only.  But for non-IPEDs students (that is students who are not first-time, full-time students,) students who take online only courses actually are UP .6 points in graduation rates.

So what does all of this mean?

We can’t say it’s causational – the mere taking of online courses or online only programs doesn’t mean you will learn better in order to graduate sooner and in greater percentages.  It could be that students who take online courses take them because they need them, because they otherwise would not be able to complete their degrees.

Non-traditional and post-traditional students often can’t make it to campus.  Access was one of the core reasons for expanding online education back in the 1990s, and indeed the entire history of distance education demonstrates this access mission.  Correspondence courses and radio and televised courses enabled students who otherwise would not have access to higher education the ability to gain credentials and improve their lives and the lives of their families.

So how can we improve graduation rates, gain and support more post-traditional students, and improve access (and equity) in alignment with our mission?  Do online better of course!

Happy to share the raw data!  #TheMoreYouKnow #MissionDriven

-Sasha

Interested in learning more about the history of distance education?  Check out this great interactive timeline one of my students created for the course I teach at Kent State University – “The Guide to Everything eLearning for the Higher Education Administrator.”

If you want to get your eLearning geek on and explore the perceptual differences between distance education, eLearning, online learning and the corresponding craze of spellings, check out this examination from the journal The Internet and Higher Education.

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