It just seems counter-productive to me. If I had the time to run all over town meeting up with people, I would have taken the class at school! Many people take on-line classes because they've got crazy schedules; it isn't easy coordinating with three other people who all work very different timeframes.
All I can think is some paper-pushing policymaker decided that even on-line classes need face time, so they made a requirement of so many percentage points must be made through group work. Just as someone feels its necessary to spend thousands of dollars to send representatives of DeAnza Community College to Africa, Asia, and the Middle East to recruit people to attend our school in Cupertino, just to ensure that we students get a good ethnic mix in our classes. (Seriously.) It's already super-difficult to get into classes required for transfer/graduation because the community colleges are pretty overcrowded, so let's import some kids to make it worse.
F*ck diversity, I would say, if I was still swearing. Which I am not. Really.