Experts Say Class Size Can Matter for Online Students - US News | E-Learning, Instructional Design, and Online Teaching |
As an undergraduate pursuing a bachelor's in nursing, Ronda Clark was accustomed to taking online classes with 30 or 40 other students. She checked in to discussion forums as required, but felt she didn't have meaningful interaction with her fellow classmates. "It was a free-for-all," says Clark, a military spouse who lives on the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia. "There was little organization." 

So Clark was pleasantly surprised by the family nurse practitioner online master's program at Massachusetts' Simmons College, which she started in 2013. There, her classes had 15 people maximum and all discussions took place in a live video environment.

"A big class could be managed – if you do it well – but any learning environment should be a more intimate environment if you want to learn," says Clark, who plans to graduate in 2015.