Selected readings on the impact of class size on online education


Selected readings on the impact of class size on online education

Setting Course Enrollment Maximums: Process, Roles, and Principles. Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. Adopted Spring 2012.

The primary basis of any determination regarding enrollment maximums should be the pedagogical factors that influence the success of the students in the course… Many different college constituencies have roles to play in establishing appropriate enrollment limits, including discipline faculty, curriculum committees, academic senates, bargaining units, and administration… As faculty have gained more experience with online teaching, and as they are required to maintain regular effective contact with each and every student, they have come to realize that a significant negative correlation seems to exist between increased class size and student learning.

S.H. Taft, K. Kesten, & M.M. El-Banna.  “One Size Does Not Fit All: Toward an Evidence-Based Framework for Determining Online Course Enrollment Sizes in Higher Education.” Online Learning. 23(3) 2019.

Small classes (≤ 15 students) are indicated for courses intending to develop higher order thinking, mastery of complex knowledge, and student skill development… Class sizes should be based on learning level and identified pedagogical intent.

Derek Newton. “Online College Classes Should Have No More Than 12 Students.” Forbes. June 28, 2020.

“Twelve. That’s how many students should be in an online undergraduate class, according to research from two professors.”

Patrick R. Lowenthal, Rob Nyland, Eulho Jung, Joanna C. Dunlap & Jennifer Kepka. “Does Class Size Matter? An Exploration into Faculty Perceptions of Teaching High-Enrollment Online Courses.”  American Journal of Distance Education.  May 23, 2019.

“The results of our inquiry reveal that faculty in this sample believe online courses with smaller enrollments are better for student learning and faculty satisfaction.”

Barbra Burch. “Class Size in Online Courses: What the Research Says.” Quality Matters. August 20, 2019.

“Sieber (2005) recommended a class size of 12 for instructors new to teaching online… Colwell and Jenks set the upper limit for a desirable class size as 20 for an undergraduate course.”

Cassandra Phillips and Greg Ahrenhoerster.  “Class Size and First-Year Writing: Exploring the Effects on Pedagogy and Student Perception of Writing Process.” Teaching English in the Two Year College.  September 2018.

“Class size research is particularly important at two-year and open-access institutions, many of which have increased class sizes as an austerity measure made necessary by decreased state funding without addressing strategies for dealing with the significant negative repercussions of this decision… It is… unethical to enforce changes in the classroom that have proven to water down curriculum, decrease instructor-student interactions, and impede learning for our most vulnerable students.”