I’m in a Facebook Group in which there was a question about student success in courses with compressed or accelerated schedules. At my college we offer all of our online courses in the 8-week format and we also offer some of our on-campus classes in a 12-week ‘late start’ format. However, I believe the length of the class is not the only factor that affects student success in a course.

Course Size

Our online classes have a cap of 22 students and on-campus classes have a cap of 35 students.

Academic Dishonesty

Due to the increased opportunity for academic dishonesty in online classes, we require a 60% or higher on a proctored on-campus final exam to pass an 8-week online class.

No Show Students

A student is marked as a ‘No Show’ student after 3-weeks, whether it is a 8-week, 12-week, or 16-week class. However, three weeks in an eight week class is significantly different than three weeks in a 16-week class.

Even if the success rate is different between the 8-week, 12-week, and 16-week formats, I believe the length of the class is not the only factor. However, I also believe that in some cases, it is a factor, and I know this from experience:

This summer I took a 2.5-week Korean language class in Seoul. The class was normally a 16-week class. The expectation was that we would come to class from 9 am to 5 pm daily, followed by a minimum of 10 hours a night of studying. This ended up being physically impossible for me and so although I completed the class, I elected not to take the 5-hour long final exam at the end. I am not disappointed as I learned a lot during the class, and I also know that if I were to have taken the class in the 16-week format that I would have had more time to study between classes and therefore would have been more likely to be successful.

So, the next time you have to consider student success in any situation, I urge you to keep the best interest of your students in mind at all times.