Paper No. 19-10
Presentation Time: 11:00 AM
COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS' PERCEPTION OF COVID-ERA ONLINE CLASSES: SURVEY RESULTS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE INSTRUCTIONAL METHODS, CLASS SCHEDULING, AND SUPPORT SERVICES FOR STUDENTS
Mount San Antonio College (Mt. SAC), a two-year college (2YC) in Los Angeles County, abruptly transitioned from primarily face-to-face to primarily online instruction in March 2020 in response to the COVID19 crisis. This shift created a valuable opportunity to investigate (1) 2YC students' experiences with synchronous and asynchronous online courses; (2) students' perceptions of the benefits and drawbacks of synchronous and asynchronous online courses; (3) the most effective strategies for student success in online classes. We administered a survey about synchronous (i.e., class meetings with the instructor and other students) and asynchronous (i.e., no scheduled class meetings) online courses to over 1300 Mt. SAC students enrolled in STEM courses at the beginning of the spring 2021 semester. We administered a similar survey at the end of spring 2021 to approximately 400 students from the same courses. We will report on the value of synchronous contact with faculty and fellow students in the class; likelihood of enrolling in synchronous vs. asynchronous classes once face-to-face classes resume; and the importance of synchronous interaction in laboratory courses. Notably, we found almost an even split in the end survey responses regarding students' preferences for asynchronous, synchronous, or hybrid (mix of asynchronous and synchronous class time) courses, with a slight preference for the latter format. We also found that students valued interaction with instructors more than they valued interaction with fellow students and that over 70% of students characterized the use of breakout rooms as an effective instructional tool. In the early survey, approximately 8.5% of student respondents reported that their access to technology during the COVID19 crisis limited their ability to participate in online classes. Nearly 70% of students reported in the end-of-semester survey that they experienced more personal crises during the pandemic than before. These findings have implications for student support programs at 2YCs and collaboration between student services personnel and academic departments to best manage disbursement of financial and other resources students. Finally, we will provide input from students on the most effective instructional strategies for success in both synchronous and asynchronous classes.