How Can We Improve Online Learning at Community Colleges?: Voices from Online Instructors and Students

Qiujie Li, Xuehan Zhou, Brad Bostian, Di Xu


With the rapid growth of online learning at community colleges and the low course completion and performance associated with it, there has been increasing need to identify effective ways to address the challenges in online teaching and learning at this setting. Based on open-ended survey responses from 105 instructors and 365 students from multiple community colleges in a state, this study examined instructors’ and students’ perceptions of effective and ineffective instructional practices and changes needed in online coursework. By combining structural topic modelling techniques with human coding, we identified instructional practices that were perceived by both instructors and students as effective in supporting online learning as well as ineffective and needing improvement. Moreover, we identified a handful of misalignments between instructors and students in their perceptions of online teaching, including course workload and effective ways to communicate.


Online instruction, community college, instructor perception, student perception

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