Please note: This was published over a year ago. Phone numbers, email addresses and other information may have changed.
Strategies for Retention in Online Classes
This post was written by Southeast TLC Coordinator Samm Erickson.
On Tuesday, November 25th, I attended the Faculty Learning Community (FLC) for online instructors at the SE TLC. Our primary focus was on student retention, and the group seemed to come up with several useful tips.
We started with these two articles as a primer on the topic:
Many of these ideas are pretty de rigueur for courses at PCC because they are embedded in QM, but there’s a major focus on instructor presence, particularly at the beginning of the term, and a major focus on creating courses that are meaningful for students.
One thing we talked about was the importance of the NS in online courses. We seemed to come to agreement that the best practice was to require work from students during the middle of the first week and to notify them – at the beginning of the term through PCC email, through Desire2Learn email at the beginning of the term, and in the Course Policies/Syllabus – that they will be dropped.
We also talked a lot about avoiding late adds into the course. While we don’t have any data to prove it, most of us felt like those students were less likely to successfully complete the course, and the later they are added into the course, the less likely they are to succeed.
Desire2Learn does have Intelligent Agents, which can be found under the “edit course” link. Instructors can use those intelligent agents to provide early notification to students, setting up the agents to notify students who have not logged in or participated in the class over a number of days. At our meeting, we were all still feeling out how these agents could be used, but Jim Johnstone (RC), Melany Budiman (SYL), Andre Temkin (SE), and Michael Moss (CA) can help if you’ve got questions. You can also get more information from PCC’s Tutorials and Technical Support page.
If you’ve got another strategy for keeping students active and successful in online courses, we’d love to hear about it in the comments.
This session was a really engaging way to spend our time, and I think all of us walked away with something for our classes. If you are interested in the Faculty Learning Community, the groups will continue to meet through the remainder of the year. Watch for emails from Greg Kaminski or get in touch with a TLC coordinator.