Balancing online and on-campus course enrollments

Research shows that students enrolling in at least one online class have a greater chance of completing their academic programs.

But what is the ideal mix of online to face-to-face enrollments?

Peter Shea and Temi Bidjerano gathered data from 45,557 students from 30 community colleges that considered the number of online courses students took along with their on-campus courses. Their findings indicate that for the average full-time student, no more than 40% of their courses should be taken online. In other words, the average full-time student should take as many as two online courses and three on-campus courses during a semester. For students considered academically at-risk, the number of online courses should be fewer. Conversely, students with higher GPAs may consider taking more online.


Shea, Peter & Bidjerano, Temi. (2018). Online course completion in community college and degree completion: The tipping point.  The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning. Vol 19. No. 2.

Other resources:

Johnson, Hans & Cuellar Mejia, Marisol. (2014). Online Learning and student outcomes in community colleges. Public Policy Institute of California.



Author: Bill Knapp

Supporting the college campus community in the selection, use, and application of technology for teaching and learning since 1997. Tweets @ITBill and blogs @

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