Professors can choose from a growing palette of Web-based tools to make their online courses more interactive. But a new study suggests that many community-college instructors aren’t taking advantage of those options. Instead, the professors are relying on static course materials that aren’t likely to motivate students or encourage them to interact with each other.
The study, presented here at the annual technology conference of the League for Innovation in the Community College, observed 26 high-enrollment online courses at two community colleges in Virginia last spring. It found that most professors relied on text-based assignments and materials. In the instances when professors did decide to use interactive tools like online video, many of those technologies were not connected to learning objectives, the study found. The findings could help explain how community colleges can structure the selection of technology to improve student-retention rates.