How to improve online education

I’m in a seminar on online education here at the conference for two-year college student leaders.

Big topic.

Most of the three dozen students in the room are taking classes online, and they’re here to give more personal feedback on the recent survey of online education carried out by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

MnSCU will come out with a formal report in November, but so far has listed four main challenges — issues that online education programs across the nation.

The Big Four:

  1. Tuition being worthwhile
  2. Quality of online instruction
  3. Number of offerings
  4. Getting timely feedback from faculty

The general consensus on tuition: It needs to be lower than that for classroom instruction. Students said they use their own resources, so why should they pay the same amount of money?

Renzo Bohme, a North Hennepin Community College Student who wants to get into neuropsychology, nailed it for a number of students:

“And if we’re gonna pay more, the instructor needs to be more engaged. I want to see as much time put in for what we’re paying.”

And professors: When you set times when you’re available online, you’d better do a better job of being at the computer when students come in. It sounded like students felt a little snubbed at times.

Boheme said:

“Set your times and stick to them so people know you’ll be there.”