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Community College Online Education Courses Up 22 Percent


U.SNon-traditional students sput online education growth. community colleges report distance courses have increased by 22 percent from fall 2007 to fall 2008, according to a distance learning survey recently released by the Instructional Technology Council (ITC).

This community college online education growth rate compares to just two percent for traditional courses—and shows that college distance courses popularity continues to grow rapidly (the ITC found that from 2006 to 2007, distance education growth was 11 percent).

For most community colleges, distance education students may represent the only enrollment growth area, the study found.

More results from the 2009 ITC survey of 226 community colleges:

• 67 percent report demand for distance college courses is outstripping supply

• Most community college administrators believe e learning benefits are equivalent to face-to-face courses (82 percent) or superior (9 percent)

• Younger, traditional students (ages 18 – 25) and older, non-traditional students (26-plus) are almost equally likely to take online college courses: 52 percent of younger students and 47 percent of older students

• Women outnumber men in online university enrollment almost 2 to 1, with 63 percent female enrollment to 36 percent for males; the gender gap appears to be increasing

• The retention rate gap between distance and face-to-face students has improved—72 percent of distance students now complete courses, compared with 76 percent for on-campus students (in the earlier years of online education, the retention rate for distance students often fell below 50 percent)

• Growth in the use of blended/hybrid and web-assisted classes continues

• Forty percent of community college distance courses charge a fee (average: $22)

Click here to download the report, Trends in eLearning: Tracking the Impact of eLearning at Community Colleges.