The question of optimal class sizes in online courses has been addressed in research but not resolved. In many, if not most, university settings, higher education administrators seek to enroll as many students as feasible in online courses for purposes of generating higher levels of revenue, whereas faculty seek to fill their courses with the "right" number of students to fit the content and pedagogical strategies selected to promote effective learning. The authors of this submission reviewed the current multi-disciplinary research available to determine what, if any, guidance on online class size exists. The research to date offers no consensus regarding appropriate student-to-teacher ratios in online courses. The authors propose the use of three educational frameworks to guide class enrollment decisions that maintain educational quality: Bloom’s taxonomy, objectivist vs. constructivist teaching strategies, and the Community of Inquiry model. Integrating these frameworks, the authors propose guidelines for sizing online course enrollments.
I have this information compiled in a table, which would not upload the formatting. Please see attached description of practice.
No research has been done to evaluate the effectiveness of this set of guidelines. However, the authors have presented the information nationally via webinars and at a peer-reviewed educators conference. In these venues, university-level faculty responding to the practice have consistently found it to be an intuitively and pedagogically sound approach to determining enrollment sizes in online courses.
The practice addresses both learning effectiveness and faculty satisfaction.
No costs associated with the practice except that it provides guidelines for enrollment sizes in university courses. The course size recommendations may be viewed as "too low" by university administrators and, if followed, not as profitable a model as they would like.
Please see attached article - with the list of references - in which this practice is described.