Computing the Ideal Class Size for Online Courses
It is not uncommon for non-teaching administrators to view online, distance learning-based courses as the “mother lode” for sizeable tuition revenue increases. Why shouldn't an online instructor be capable of handling a hundred students? After all, there are no office hours, no classroom presentations, and no pencil-paper assessment.
This study examined the impact of substituting didactic instruction, face-to-face advisement, and pen and paper evaluations with web-based content, electronic information and inquiry, and online assessment. It analyzed the impact of distance learning demands on faculty teaching loads and computed the ideal class size for an online course.
Many readers are distance educators who, for the first time, will be provided with new facts to confront those who see online teaching as a panacea for expanding revenues and increasing student enrollment.
Tomei, L., 2004. The Impact of Online Teaching on Faculty Load, Computing the Ideal Class Size for Online Courses. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning.
Note this research was done before the advent of the MOOC