Results of GRCC Survey of Distance Learning Students


GRCC has recently surveyed distance learning students about their experiences with their online courses. Out of nearly 3,500 students enrolled in online or hybrid classes in the Winter 2012, there were 473 student responses.

The above graphic represents where students that have participated in the survey live with several online students residing outside of Michigan.

The following bullets highlight the survey results:

Why did you take an online course?

  • 58% indicate that it’s more convenient and 52% say that they are unable to come to campus due to their schedules.
  • In open ended comments, students indicated that their work schedules, their health situations, disabilities, and where they live make it impractical to come to campus. Also cited was the cost of parking, daycare, and gas money in saving costs.

How many online courses have you taken?

  • Over 67% have taken more than 2 classes online with roughly 33% are taking their first online course in the Winter 2012 semester.


  • 44% of students responding to the survey were between 20-29 years of age, followed by 20% in the 30-39 age group, followed by 18-19 year olds at 16%.

Technology Skills

  • 56% of students indicate that they are advanced users of technology, followed by 33% as intermediate.

Online Courses & Navigation

  • Nearly 80% of students surveyed agree that GRCC’s courses are easy to navigate.

More Online Courses

  • Students would like to see more online courses in the following disciplines: Business, Mathematics, English, Computer Applications, Psychology, Social Sciences, Biology, and Physical Sciences.


  • Nearly 80% of students agreed that the system was reliable and provided an effective learning experience.

Students desire more use of the following by faculty:

  • Email 37%, Video Based Lectures (Camtasia Relay) 34%, Instant Messaging (Blackboard IM) 25%, eTextbooks 22%, Text Messaging (Blackboard Connect) 17%, and Live Chats (Blackboard Collaborate) 14%

Quality of Online Courses

  • 77% indicate good or excellent
  • 77% satisfied or very satisfied

Open Ended Comments

  • Student appreciated faculty that: were clear as to what is graded and expected, responded in a timely manner to grading and communication, used Blackboard IM for online office hours, were available, active, and present in discussion boards and within the course, used Camtasia Relay and video in their courses, used and developed their own content rather than relying on pre-packaged textbook publisher test banks and course content.

One thought on “Results of GRCC Survey of Distance Learning Students

  1. Thank You for taking the time and effort of providing insight on how we are doing with our online courses and what students are finding to be positive techniques. Data ( percents ) given on the “Quality of Online Courses” is a little confusing as both good and excellent is 77% and satisfied and very satisfied is 77% ?? It would be great to have an apples to apples comparison of online verses classroom instruction. If done correctly, then it could be a great way to see how we can further improve.

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