SYNC courses less effective


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Students who take online SYNC courses are less likely to pass them than those who enroll in totally online classes.

Dan Elson, Editor-in-Chief

Students who take online SYNC courses are less likely to pass those classes than students who take fully online sections, according to AACC.

Overall, online SYNC showed a success rate of 70.3%, while fully online courses had a 72.4% success rate.

Approximately 9,500 virtual seats filled in last fall’s online SYNC classes, while fully online courses filled 10,600 seats.
Online SYNC students meet as a class at least once per week on Zoom or Teams, often with required attendance. Online-only students do not have those meetings.
“During COVID, we thought that online SYNC would be more engaging with students than fully online, where students could work without ever meeting with the faculty member,” Vice President for Learning Tanya Millner said. “We thought that if you set up certain specific times where the student had to meet with you, the students would be better engaged.”
So the data showing less success in SYNC classes surprised her, Millner said.
First-year transfer studies student Ben Surosky said the research does not surprise him.
“It’s not that the online SYNC are worse classes,” he said. “It’s just that the online non-SYNC are just easier.”
In addition, college data showed that courses lasting between nine and 12 weeks had a far higher student success rate—almost 97%—than those taking traditional 15-week classes—70.3%.
Classes lasting between one and seven weeks—usually in the summer and winter sessions—rated 89.2%.
Most AACC courses last for eight, 13 or 15 weeks, which all reported success rates of less than 75%.
Millner offered an explanation: “If you have a longer time in a class, you have a greater opportunity for stuff to happen in your life.”