Q:

Next semester, my son has the option of taking one or more classes on the campus of the community college that he is attending, or he can take the same course online. He is enthusiastic about taking at least one course online, as he can take the course and do the assignments at his convenience. Is taking courses online a good idea for community college students? -- Uncertain

A:

Your concern is real. Unfortunately, the data from several studies shows that community college students simply do not do as well in online courses as those they take in the classroom. In a recent University of California-Davis study of students at California community colleges, it was found that 11 percent of the students were less likely to finish or pass an online course. This was true no matter what subject the students were taking online. Community college students simply do better face to face with their teachers.

The major problem seems to be that community college students apparently find it hard to manage their time well enough to complete online courses. The story seems to be different for students at selective four-year colleges where the results are largely the same for both online and in-class experiences.