Thanks to Bill Coleman for sending me a recent article in the NY Times on the impact of rising gas prices on online learning (High Cost of Driving Ignites Online Classes Boom). The article reports that enrollment for online courses is up – especially at community colleges, which have a higher percentage of commuters than most 4-year colleges.
The bad news is that the expectation is that some students will have to leave school because of gas prices. They had a story of one student who paid $500 per month for tuition and $240 a month for gas!
The good news is that online courses are a way for students to stay in school and eliminate gas costs.
The bad news is that some of the students interviewed did not feel as if the online courses were as good as the in-person classes. I feel though as if this is probably subjective and depends on the individual instructor. My brother-in-law has been taking online classes (in Dublin) and he actually felt the classes were better online because everyone got a chance to participate online.
My husband is an instructor at a local community college. It does seem as if enrollment in general is up when the economy is down, which should mean there is more money to invest. And increased demand for online classes could be the impetus to practice and improve online teaching. It would be nice to see that happen.