Faculty members tend to believe that only certain kinds of students should probably enroll in an online course. You'll hear terms such as "mature," "self-directed," and "disciplined." Needless to say, these traits may not fit the profile of the typical community college student. As online instruction expands—partly for space or financial reasons—a college's success rate can be affected negatively when students make bad choices.
A recent study from the respected Community College Research Center contains some interesting findings. Using a dataset containing nearly 500,000 courses taken by over 40,000 community and technical college students in Washington State, the study "examines how well students adapt to the online environment in terms of their ability to persist and earn strong grades in online courses relative to their ability to do so in face-to-face courses," according to the abstract.
The study is "Adaptability to Online Learning: Differences Across Types of Students and Academic Subject Areas," by Di Xu and Shanna Smith Jaggars. The full report can be downloaded from the link above.
Screening of students for online instruction would seem appropriate, but it can get tricky.
Here is a crucial passage:
While all types of students in the study suffered decrements in performance in online courses, some struggled more than others to adapt: males, younger students, Black students, and students with lower grade point averages. In particular, students struggled in subject areas such as English and social science, which was due in part to negative peer effects in these online courses.