Facing the Challenges Inherent in Teaching Online: A Case Study

Kimberly Parish Davis


Community colleges and universities have found that they can increase their enrollment with only a small impact to their budgets by providing courses online. At the same time, online courses have gained tremendous popularity with students. Unfortunately, however, success rates in online courses are proving to be significantly lower than in traditional classrooms. In no course of study is this more evident than in online composition courses. The key issue revolves around training and support for teachers through the establishment of best practices for online instruction. In addition, it has been suggested that a screening process for students who enroll in online classes would improve retention rates by insuring that students are good candidates for online study before they begin a new course. This paper examines the issues and applies them in a case study of online freshman composition courses at Sam Houston State University conducted in the fall of 2012.


First-year-composition; Freshman Comp; Online instruction; Best teaching practices

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