Community College Students More Optimistic About Digital Learning: Report
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- Community college students are largely more optimistic about digital learning, compared to before the pandemic, according to a report from Bay View Analytics.
- Roughly 48% of students gave the role of technology a grade of "A" for their learning, while another 35% gave it a "B" grade.
- Faculty and administrators also reported being more optimistic about technology and online learning.
- The report highlights an increased focus on digital tools and online learning at community colleges.
Community college students are getting more optimistic about technology as their schools embrace digital learning, according to a new report.
Students largely rated their school's technology as being effective in their learning, according to a new report from Bay View Analytics. Roughly 48% of students gave the role of technology a grade of "A" for their learning, while another 35% gave it a "B" grade. Another 13% gave technology a "C" grade, and only 4% gave it a "D" or "F" grade.
Large percentages of students, faculty, and school administrators said they were more optimistic about the use of digital course materials since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic: 58% of administrators, 52% of faculty, and 44% of students said they were more optimistic, with only small portions of each group indicating that they were more pessimistic.
"It is rare to find topics where students, faculty, and administrators are in total agreement," Julia Seaman, the research director at Bay View Analytics, said in a release. "However, that is exactly what we see when examining the rapid and complete digital learning transformation occurring at Community Colleges."
Those figures were similar when the time window was narrowed down to the past year: 60% of administrators, 45% of faculty, and 47% of students said they became more optimistic about digital course materials over that shorter time period.
A large share of students at two-year institutions said they had a positive change in their attitude about online homework and exams: Roughly 43% indicated they felt more optimistic about online activity and homework systems. Another 41% indicated no change, while 16% reported having a more pessimistic attitude about online homework systems.
Another 31% said they were more optimistic about online exam proctoring, while 47% indicated no change in their attitude, and 22% said they were more pessimistic.
Students generally rated both online and in-person courses as positive, though online learning received a slightly lower score than in-person.
While 52% of students gave in-person learning an "A" grade for meeting their educational needs, 49% of students said the same for online courses. Another 38% of students gave in-person learning a "B" grade, compared with 30% for online courses.
The number of students who gave online courses a high grade grew dramatically between spring 2021 and spring 2022, according to the report: While 40% of students taking exclusively online courses gave those classes an "A" grade for meeting their educational needs in spring 2021, that figure grew to 60% in spring 2022.
Roughly 37% of those students gave online courses a "B" grade in spring 2021, compared with 23% in spring 2022. The number of students giving online courses a "C" grade or lower shrank in that same period.
"Higher education in the U.S. has been undergoing a steady digital transformation for over a decade. What is unique about the current findings is how rapid and broad the changes have been," Bay View Analytics Director Jeff Seaman said in the release.
Students, faculty, and administrators also generally reported being more optimistic about both blended and online learning since both the onset of the pandemic and over the past year.
Community college administrators and faculty largely said they want to use more technology in their fully in-person courses: 44% of administrators said they "strongly agreed" that they plan to incorporate more technology, and another 42% said they somewhat agreed.
Of faculty surveyed, 36% said they "strongly agreed," while 33% indicated that they "somewhat" agreed, and another 21% neither agreed nor disagreed.