Community Colleges and Underappreciated Assets: Using Institutional Data to Promote Success in Online Learning

March 24, 2013

Adapting to the 21st century, community colleges are not adding brick and mortar to meet enrollment demands. Instead, they are expanding services through online learning, with at least 61% of all community college students taking online courses today (Pearson, 2011). As online learning is affording alternate pathways to education for students, it is facing difficulty in meeting outcome standards; attrition rates for the past decade have been found to be significantly higher for online courses than face-to-face courses (Carr, 2000; Hachey, Wladis & Conway, 2012a/b; Morris & Finnegan, 2008; Tyler-Smith, 2006). Yet, there is a lack of empirical investigation on community college online attrition, despite the fact that course and institutional management systems today are automatically collecting a wealth of data which are not being utilized but are readily available for study. This article presents a meta-review of one community college’s realization of their underappreciated asset… the use of institutional data to address the dearth of evidence on factors effecting attrition in online learning.

Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

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