San Jose State University's experiment with online learning is on hold after mixed results from the spring and summer -- and according to the university's own research, the curriculum may need an overhaul in order to reach the students who need it most.
The school began offering online classes in partnership with Udacity, the company whose effort to offer statistics and math classes to students "for a fraction of the cost" was much-ballyhooed, according to Inside Higher Ed.
It took "months" for Udacity to supply "usable data" about how well students used resources and accessed support, the Web site reported. That left improvements that could have enhanced students' experiences lagging behind.
Udacity disputed that -- but other problems aren't its fault and may be harder to fix.
Only 213 students -- 39 percent -- had data on their experiences that could be used; the rest dropped out, got an incomplete grade, or otherwise were "pruned" from the results.
It also seems online learning may not be the best way to get through to students. For example, four out of five students said they needed more help with the content, but "few" went to see teachers during office hours.
One teacher said she responded to "hundreds" of e-mails that asked questions -- all of which were answered in the syllabus, according to InsideHigherEd.
Other "important" emails arrived late or were marked as spam, according to the report.
Some of these problems were improved upon in the summer session -- when also, the students were more learned: half of summer students had a postsecondary degree, compared to half of the spring students being high school-age.