For Students Taking Online Courses, a Completion Paradox


Although community-college students are much more likely to fail a class taken online then in a traditional face-to-face course, and grades in online courses are often lower, online courses are actually contributing to better completion rates in degree programs.

There’s a national study that was published 2014, that found that students who took at least one online course, are 25 percent more likely to earn a degree than those who study in a traditional lecture. This could be because the convenience of online course could be the difference between staying in a degree program and dropping out.

They call this “online paradox”. This is due to the contrasting statistics that are for and against online courses. One student has earned mostly A’s but the one B he has so far is in an online course. This is due to it being difficult to juggle and keep track of an online course. This also might be due to the lower pass rates that are a longstanding problem in online course. A study done in California’s Community-college system found that students are 10 to 14 percent less likely to pass an online course than face-to-face course.

Online courses are a long way from being perfected. Educators need to identify successful practices in online learning so more students are successful in the course themselves. There seems to be an inconsistent quality that is contributing to the problem. Many colleges are already taking steps to warn students about the level of self-discipline and access to technology needed to succeed in an online course. That being said, online courses are a two-way street, it needs to be created and simple enough for students to understand what they’re getting from it and what their expected to do, and also students need to make sure that although it’s online the amount of coursework and time for the class still matches up a traditional face-to-face course. What that means is, if you’re taking a 5 credit course you should be spending 10 hours outside of class a week for that class, that is the same for online course.