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  • e special-focus survey items also indicate that some use of social networking tools is

related to increased engagement. ere is, however, a point of diminishing returns.

Using social networking tools to communicate with others (students, instructors, or college sta) about coursework is related to higher CCSSE benchmark scores. e more students use social networking tools for academically purposeful activities, the higher their levels of engagement.

However, higher frequency of using social networking tools for any purpose is related to lower scores on the student eort benchmark.

Online Learning

Across the nation, online enrollments continue to grow at rates far faster than classroom enrollments, and the highest growth rates are in two-year associate degree institutions. In fact, community and technical colleges account for more than one-half of all U.S. online enrollments for the last ve years.*

A recent U.S. Department of Education analysis of online and face-to-face instruction showed that students learning in an online setting had better performance, on aver- age, than those who received face-to-face instruction. Students who took courses that combined classroom and online learning, known as blended or hybrid instruction, had the best outcomes of all.** Future research is needed to address the question of whether there are important dierences in the experiences of community college students and those of undergraduates in four-year colleges and universities.

While online education continues to grow, the need for remedial education continues apace as well. An estimated 62% of community college students are underprepared for college-level courses, and at some colleges that number exceeds 90%.

With such a dramatic need for developmental education and national reports touting “no signicant dierence” in learning outcomes in online courses, it may be tempting to declare online coursework the denitive solution. However, additional research is needed to determine the ecacy of online developmental education. Also, as with all new strategies, the devil is in the details. Attention must be paid to the eective execu- tion of online courses and programs. As with other initiatives, colleges should use data to monitor outcomes — including student engagement, persistence, and learning — and make adjustments as necessary to maximize success for all online students.

In focus groups, faculty members and students raise a related issue: Colleges should not assume that students — even those in the Net Generation — understand how to use the technology they need for an online course.

*Allen, I. E. & Seaman, J. Online Nation: Five Years of Growth in Online Learning, 2007. Needham, MA: The Sloan Consortium.

**Report available at www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/opepd/ppss/reports.html#edtech.

For more information about CCSSE and the 2009 surve , visit www.ccsse.org.

Colleges’ Use of Social Networking Tools To Communicate about Services

How often does this college communicate with you about services (financial aid, advising, etc.) using social networking tools, such as instant messaging, text messaging, MySpace and/or Facebook, Twitte ,

etc.? (This does not include e-mail.)

Traditional-age students


Multiple times per day


Multiple times per week




Multiple times per month

Multiple times per year


Nontraditional-age students


Multiple times per day





Multiple times per week

Multiple times per year


Multiple times per month

Source: 2009 CCSSE data.

“In my online class, the fi st assessment requires you to turn in a paragraph about you self. ou have to intermingle with other people.

our paragraph is posted, and everybody else reads it. It s actual y sort of neat to read everything.”

  • Male student

2009 Findings


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