Online Classes Reach New Successes

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
2017 ITC National eLearning Survey Infographic

The Instructional Technology Council released the 2017 ITC National eLearning Survey in February.

More than 40 percent of students are enrolled in an online class at Truckee Meadows Community College, and they are successfully completing their courses at a high rate.

In February, TMCC Institutional Research Office provided data to Program Director of WebCollege Brandy Scarnati. The data shows that more students are reaching the finish line of their online courses at the College each year.

“We received the TMCC data for Fall Semester 2017—we are at a 74 percent retention rate, which is amazing for classes that are not face-to-face,” she said.

Nationally, students finish courses delivered in person at a greater rate than those that are offered online.

The Instructional Technology Council (ITC) released a comprehensive survey, the 2017 ITC National eLearning Survey in February. It provides data on distance education at two-year colleges in the U.S.

“Sixty-two percent (of survey respondents) reported that their retention is lower for online classes than for face-to-face instruction at their college—47 percent in 2016—56 percent in 2015,” according to the ITC Survey.

The three-quarters percentage of completed classes is also notable because a fair amount of students at the college enroll in online instruction.

“About 42 percent of TMCC students take at least one web-based course,” she added.

Faculty Training Improves Retention

Scarnati said that the dedication of fellow staff members and faculty have a big impact on this success.

“I would like to thank our Retention Specialist Tamara Anderson, and all of our instructors who have followed Quality Matters guidelines, and have attended professional development training to enhance their online teaching.”

The ITC Survey also indicates that proper faculty training contributes to better student retention.

At TMCC, close to 20 course offerings have been nationally Quality Matters (QM) approved and additional faculty members are pursuing QM approval.

In Fall Semester, 21 percent of all courses offered at TMCC were web-based.

For more information about WebCollege, call 775-673-7814. To find a late-starting online course beginning near the end of March, go to (online courses are indicated in the details section of the class schedule under "class type".