The Distance Ed Student

The profile of the distance education student is changing over time. In 2007, fifty-nine percent were females compared to a statewide average of 63%. High School graduates comprised 61% of the population, followed by 12.5% with a BA degree or greater. Students ages 18–25 make up 56% of the student population. Student survey results show that the ethnic distribution of students enrolled in distance education closely reflected that of the general campus enrollment. Hispanics make up 19% of the distance education student population, the same percentage statewide. Success rates average 52.9%, lower than the statewide average of 57%.

Most students live in-state, 94%, and 89% in Santa Cruz County. Residents of the San Lorenzo Valley and Scotts Valley make up 14% of the distance student population, and Watsonville at 15%.

According to the 2006/07 Student Satisfaction Survey, the method of instruction for a DE course made the material at least as interesting and understandable, or more, than their on campus classes for 87% of students, and 50% felt their level of interaction with the instructor was the same or more than in a traditional class. The DE course demanded about the same amount of time as an on campus class for 67% of students. Asked if they would take another DE course from Cabrillo, 78% agreed, 15% had no opinion, and 6% disagreed. Most students use home computers to take classes, followed by campus computers, work, and the public library. Almost 20% are required to attend on-campus sessions.

Some specific student comments about the value and drawbacks of a distance education course were:


  • Flexible schedule
  • Could not have taken this course on campus: I must work during the day
  • Learning while maintaining other responsibilities
  • Less hectic with work: after a ten hour day I'm not fresh enough for lecturing and classroom
  • Time and travel constraints
  • Varied work schedule
  • Good not to travel to Cabrillo from San Lorenzo Valley
  • Less travel time, no parking problems
  • Single mother/childcare is an issue
  • Its just a different option


  • There is no one there to answer your immediate questions
  • Allows flexibility but can get put off if not a regular routine

< < back to Introduction