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Online Effectiveness Questioned

Employers and community college students have doubts about the quality of online education, according to a survey by a nonpartisan research organization.

“Not Yet Sold: What Employers and Community College Students Think About Online Education,” a report from Public Agenda, found that 56 percent of employers would prefer a job applicant with a traditional degree from an average school over one with an online degree from a top university; 17 percent chose an online degree from a top university, and 21 percent said it didn’t matter.

The skepticism over online courses may indicate a “need for better communication between colleges and employers about the knowledge and skills the latter seek in their employees,” the report says.

The data also found that 46 percent of community college students surveyed take some of their classes online (including 5 percent who take all classes online). The survey found that 41 percent of those enrolled in online classes wish they could take fewer of them; 20 percent want to take more; and 39 percent say they are taking the right amount of online courses.

“Online education should serve as an effective option for the students who want it or can best benefit from it and not become a burden or obstacle for those who don’t,” the report concludes.

 The conclusions are based on surveys of 656 employers and 215 community college students. 

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