TheBestSchools.org, a preeminent student resource tracking trends in online education since 2011, has published findings drawn from testimonials of students enrolled in online college concerning their satisfaction with online higher education:
Real & Surprising Insights from Online Students
Students often choose online education for the flexibility of online courses. This traditional advantage of college online over on-campus has long been considered the primary positive, despite the potential lack of face-to-face interactions with educators and peers.
However, after reviewing nearly 1,000 testimonials submitted by actively enrolled online students, TheBestSchools.org found a counterintuitive benefit. Rather than suffering diminished interpersonal connection — a commonly assumed negative of distance learning — online students reported more positive and helpful interaction with classmates, and better access to their instructors and communication with them, than they experienced as traditional on-campus students.
This remarkable feedback may further enhance the findings in the “2017 National Student Satisfaction and Priorities Report” from Ruffalo Noel Levitz (bit.ly/RNLreport). In this widely cited study that examined all types of higher education enrollment, nearly 130,000 online college students from 164 institutions (62% undergraduate; 34% graduate; 94% primarily online) reported higher levels of overall satisfaction than students in on-campus programs.
What makes the testimonials submitted to TheBestSchools.org important is the self-reported evidence of higher satisfaction with interpersonal communication between students and with instructors, a factor not fully expanded in the Ruffalo Noel Levitz study.
“Since its inception, online college has been a more flexible option for study, especially for working adults, single parents, and the less mobile. The assumed downside has been that all forms of distance education are less personal, less relational, and lack a human touch,” says Dan Edelen, communications manager for TheBestSchools.org. “But students in online degree programs now report all communication is instead improved — a boost to the already positive perception of online college we’ve seen from previous studies. Online college isn’t just the wave of the future; it’s meeting student needs in multiple areas now.”
TheBestSchools.org is a leader in school rankings — high school, college, postgraduate, online, and on-campus. As an organizational member of both the American Council on Education and the National Association for College Admission Counseling, TheBestSchools.org upholds the highest standards to meet the requirements of more than one million monthly visitors and to help them find the best school for their needs. TheBestSchools.org staff and advisory board believe learning transforms lives for the better and should be a lifelong pursuit.