Math should be a good fit. I worry about the effectiveness of online remedial courses in other areas. Of course, in Tennessee, universities are getting out of the remediation business.
UT studies online learning: Class via computer offers wider access, raises quality queries
Hundreds of students taking one of the University of Tennessee's most popular courses, remedial algebra, arrived last week to the first day of class — in their dorm rooms.
For the first time the university will deliver half of its Math 119 sections, which enroll about 1,000 students each fall, online.
'It's a challenging course for us because in some sense, it's barely at the college level,' said Chuck
Collins, a math professor in charge of the course. 'We've been putting a lot of resources into it without a lot of success … when it comes to matching students with their ability and doing it in a cost-effective way.'
Cost, of course, is a motivating factor for the university, which will lose $112 million in funding next year when federal stimulus funds run out. That translates to fewer instructors, fewer course offerings and larger sections.
At the same time, UT is trying to increase its graduation rates.
Online learning is a way to do that — allowing students to take required courses at their own convenience and lending flexibility when scheduling the rest of their class load. Though online education offers potential for both financial savings and broader student access, it also leads to discussions of whether the quality is the same as in-class instruction.