Research shows that students in traditional college courses benefit from small class sizes. Small classes offer personal attention to help students understand the material as well as the opportunity to participate in meaningful discussions about the material. In fact, many brick-and-mortar schools highlight small class sizes as a selling point. Online students may have a harder time finding this information – but that doesn’t mean the size of your online bachelor’s in accounting courses is unimportant.
Small Class Sizes in Top Online Programs
If you’re afraid of getting lost in the crowd of virtual students, don’t worry. Some of the top online bachelor’s in accounting degree programs in the United States feature small class sizes – smaller, even than you would see on a brick-and-mortar campus.
For example, Post University has an average class size of just 13 students. The proprietary institution has just approximately 800 students on campus, according to U.S. News & World Report, and its reputation for small class sizes and individualized attention carries over into its online degree programs.
The Importance of Class Size in Online Education
The debate over how much online class size matters – and what class size is best for online courses – is ongoing. Class sizes for online undergraduate programs can range from a single student to 150 students, according to U.S. News and World Report. Of course, there are also the massive open online courses, or MOOCs, which may hold thousands of students at a time. While it’s likely that neither an extremely large or extremely small class size is really best for students, experts haven’t yet conclusively determined number of students in a class is the “right” one.
On one hand, the findings of a large national study, presented at a 2015 American Economic Association conference, suggested that class size might not matter much when it comes to distance learning. “Increases in online class size have no impact on student grades, student persistence in the course or the likelihood of students enrolling in future courses,” stated Inside Higher Ed, reporting on the research.
However, are grades the only thing that counts? Even if their grades don’t suffer, some students who have been part of large online classes report feeling that the course lacked “meaningful interaction” in its class discussions. Without the chance to really explore the course material through deeply interactive discussions, students who feel lost in a large online class might not be learning to their full potential – even if their grades don’t show it.
How much online class size matters depends upon the student as well as the instructor’s management of the course. If you prefer to work and learn independently, then a larger class size might not affect you. However, if you learn better through social interactions, it may be worthwhile for you to research the average class size of an online bachelor’s in accounting program before you enroll.