There was this inconspicuous article in the Nov 14, 2008 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Ed called “Does It Matter Where You Go to College?” (by Sara Lipka). The article was based on NSSE data (the National Survey of Student Engagement). The most interesting part of the article was the little table of data at the bottom of the page (click here for a larger version).

I think that most faculty would be shocked to read this. Based on student perceptions, more students felt like they participated in important discussions in their online classes than their classroom-based classes. More students felt that course activities challenged them intellectually in online classes.

In general, I think most faculty would perceive that the traditional classroom is a richer environment for discussion and course activities, but students seem to see it differently. Could it be that the traditional classroom is just a richer environment for the instructor?

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