As many campuses prepare for an unprecedented year of distance learning, or perhaps hybrid classes for some, a study conducted by two professors, Dr. Lawrence Tomei from Robert Morris University and Douglas Nelson from Seton Hill University, published in September 2019, revealed that the ideal number of students in an undergraduate online course should be no more than 12. (If you're curious, the number is 18 for on-campus classes, and 17 for hybrid models.)
The research also determined the ideal number for undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral courses. "Undergrad classes should likewise have an upper limit of 18, while graduate classes should have no more than 14 students," a Forbes report by Derek Newton featuring the published study notes.
They arrived at the figure based on the following factors: "'actual delivery of instruction,' how long it takes to assess and give exams and do things such as provide 'counseling and advisement' for students."
After conducting their year-long study across different disciplines, Tomei says that, “Teaching online, and I know there are literally hundreds of thousands of K-12 teachers who would now agree, takes a heck of a lot more work than teaching in a classroom.”
Online Classes in the Philippines
In an interview in May 2020, CHED Chairman Prospero De Vera III said that only 20 percent of state universities and colleges nationwide are equipped to facilitate online classes, and that CHED would be spending the next three months helping schools prepare their facilities as classes are expected to resume in August.
Meanwhile, back in May, Candy held a Candy Council Open Forum where students discussed their concerns about online classes. Raymond Cayabyab from University of the East said, “How can we depend on such online platforms if, [in] the Philippines, very weak ang internet connection natin? You’ll need a PC and a stable internet connection. Yung online classes kasi, hindi pa fully introduced sa lahat ng schools.” Should online classes continue, Angelica Magistrado from Mapua University believes that adjustments to the current setup need to be made. “Ang nakikita ko lang na solution for this kind of setup is yung self-paced learning,” she said. “All lecture materials are accessible sa lahat and any time puwede mo siya ma-access.”
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