Survey shows online classes can be as engaging as campus experience

Students at the University of Colorado, seen here March 12, has moved to online remote learning classes for the rest of the semester due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI

March 24 (UPI) —┬áAs schools worldwide have shifted to remote learning systems, new research Tuesday showed that past online graduates speak as positively about their experience than do those who attended physical classes.

Pollster Gallup said in its study more than three quarters of online graduates said they had at least one professor who excited them, compared to just 71 percent of grads of a physical campus.

Gallup Executive Director of Education Research Stephanie Marken said the survey refutes negative assumptions about online learning.

“For years, many people have assumed that education delivered online is inferior to in-person instruction when it comes to providing an engaging and challenging higher education experience,” Marken┬ásaid. “[This study] suggests such an experience in an online setting is possible — and in some cases, it can be done in a way that surpasses in-person delivery.”

The research showed educational engagement is among the supportive experiences that correspond with higher employment and better well-being outcomes.

Online graduates were also just as likely as their physical counterparts to rate their learning experience as “challenging,” the survey showed.

Marken said it’s important during the coronavirus crisis that “early leaders in online education” cooperate with the entire higher education community to improve learning and “slow the pandemic.”

Gallup polled nearly 2,000 graduates of online and campus institutions for the survey, which has a margin of error of about 4 points.

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