Colleges see increase in students preferring online courses

ByMike V. Cooper

Nov 23, 2021

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) – Zooming has become a way of life for students during the pandemic. But, CSU Bakersfield and Bakersfield College are seeing some students preferring to stay online now that colleges and universities across the country are returning to primarily in-person learning.

At Bakersfield College, Dean of Teaching Effectiveness Craig Howard said online classes fill up faster than face-to-face classes, and at CSUB they see the same for classes general education online.

Administrators from CSUB and BC said convenience and health concerns may be driving this demand for online courses.

“I think we have a lot of safety practices in place, both our vaccination policy and our masking,” said Dr. Liora Gubkin, associate dean, School of Arts and Humanities (A&H) at California State University , Bakersfield.

CSUB’s Dr Gubkin added that it is understandable that there are still health issues, but notes that the school was not meant to be an online type of institution and some courses simply don’t benefit not in the online format.

Before the pandemic, CSUB was 95% in person and the rest online. During COVID that changed and now they are moving to a 50/50 approach in some CSUB schools.

Dr. Gubkin suggests that students pay attention to the courses offered during registration to try to find the courses they need in the format they prefer.

Meanwhile, Bakersfield College is looking to adjust its approach to meet student demand. In-person classes have gone from 85% before the pandemic to 49% now, and it very likely could stay that way.

“The further we go, we are now in the spring of 2022 and that number has dropped from 85% to 49-50%. I feel like it’s becoming more and more of a comfortable place, ”said Hayward.

Hayward added that they are also shifting a lot of their resources and advice to offer these services in a way that they see their students gravitate towards.

While Bakersfield College’s online classes fill up faster, as expected, some students still prefer to be in person.

One of them is Eli Bautista, whose first year was in person, second year was fully online, and this year was a mix of the two, better known as the hybrid.

Before the pandemic, hybrid courses that sometimes meet online and sometimes in person made up 1% of classes at Bakersfield College and now represent 13%.

“Most of my classes are going to be hybrid and it’s kinda sucked, I tried to get as many as possible in person and most of them are just offered as a hybrid,” Bautista said.

Bautista added that at least the hybrid offers a possibility of in-person contact where they can ask any questions, which they have more comfortably than online.

Today, hybridization and connecting online is perhaps more common than when Bautista and many other students started their careers in higher education.

“So it may be that online will be a more important component of the class schedule in the future and it will be a beacon of hope to have been immersed in this unforeseen life experience,” said Hayward,

Hayward added that only time will tell if this new class ratio is here to stay, but notes that there are many working or parent students at Bakersfield College who are able to work better with flexibility. that offers online.

As for students with disabilities who may need to be in a certain setting, CSUB and Bakersfield College said they have teams in place to make sure classes are accessible to these people.