ChristineIt is a commonly held belief that the success of online students can be a struggle. While that can be different in various institutions based on the program developed, it is acknowledged that student support is important for all students and students need different support based on the type of courses they are completing. It is our responsibility as accredited institutions to provide the necessary support services to all students, not dependent on geographic location. Today we are going to talk about online student retention, some interventions and tools used by Western, and hopefully some tools used by other institutions represented in this room. Julie is joining us today because she represents a tool currently being used by many institutions to help improve their student retention and she can speak to what most institutions are looking for. Why do they start looking for other tools? As an example of one online student retention tool, what does READI do to help students and institutions? As Julie works with institutions, what trends does she notice?
ChristineOnline Student retention can be looked at and supported in a variety of ways. For example, these are all the areas the Online Student Retention Community Interest Group will look at during tomorrows 3:15 PM roundtable Session. Today we are focusing on preparation for online learning. There are a lot of Readiness issues that focus on student issues we have little control over, such as areas of family, responsibilities outside of school, work, etc. There are other Readiness issues such as financial aid, counseling, advising, that our institutions are already working hard to head off for students. But if our students have financial aid and good advising, are they ready to succeed in an online course. What other skills do they need to succeed? Technology experience? Typing ability? An understanding of their own learning style? An understanding of their own time management style and time management challenges? Reading comprehension? Knowledge of support services? What else?
Julie do you want tag team this one? I could start out describing how Western does it, ask the audience and then maybe you can review “of the institutions that you deal with, who mostly works with you on READI”? Before going to the next slide…
Julie Ok, we know the type of support we are looking at and who in our institutions often provides this support. What are the Myths and preconceptions; and is this telling us what student audiences are in danger?
ChristineAs I’m sure you do, at Western we try to “get to” the students in a variety of ways. To help improve our online student readiness we use a variety of measures, but we really focus on proper prior preparation! I want to provide students with the resources they need to succeed and help them use those resources, if need be, but also give them the power to start taking control of their education. They can chose how to use the resources and what to do about the results. READI is one of the tools we have decided to use and next Julie will describe READI some and show a little so you can see how it benefits the students.If it looks like there is plenty of time and we have internet, I can pull up and show our demo site.
JulieBased on the preconceptions our student have and the knowledge we have about them, what can a tool such as READI to do help the students and the institutions?
Julie – to understand what READI can do for the student I think it’s important they see a sample report.
ChristineSo I’ve talked about the support and tools Western provides and we’ve demonstrated one tool for you and how it helps both the students recognize their strengths and areas of challenge; and how it helps the institutions recognize and better address the audience it has. What other tools/intervention do some of your institutions use to help improve student success?
READI WCET Presentation
Using Learner Readiness to Improve Online Student Retention<br />Julie Owen, eLearningToolBox.com<br />Christine Lustik, Western Wyoming Community College<br />
Introduction<br />Online Student Retention – so many areas to think about!<br />How is online student support perceived by institutions?<br />Technology help? Who’s job is it to intervene or plan online student support?<br />Why do students and institutions struggle?<br />Myths/Preconceptions online students may have.<br />What students are in danger? <br />Why should we intervene, continue trying to provide support? <br />How can we intervene and help some student population?<br />Interventions? Support? Remediation? Tools?<br />
How is Online Support Viewed by Institutions?<br />Who in your institution develops tools/plans for online student success?<br />Distance Education Department?<br />Retention Committee?<br />Student services or academic services?<br />Faculty?<br />Who do online students call?<br />Who contacts online students when they register?<br />
Myths/Preconceptions<br />Students<br />Misconceptions about distance learning<br />Unrealistic view of personal strengths and weaknesses<br />Communication challenges<br />Need assistance to help them be successful<br />Schools<br />Struggle with poor retention rates in distance learning<br />Very little knowledge of student’s abilities in regards to learning from a distance – not covered on ACT, SAT, college app, or traditional placement tests<br />Communication challenges<br />Need information about their distance learners to effectively plan and deliver online courses<br />Are responsible for knowing how to help their students<br />
Possible Interventions - WWCC<br />Prior to Class<br />Info in Schedule<br />Intro to Online Course<br />1 credit, 8 weeks or shorter<br />Mail letter to each student that registers<br />Username, password, email, directions to login, help desk info, AND demo course information<br />Demo Course anyone can access<br />w/READI Assessment<br />At beginning of online class experience<br />Use of demo course and READI in introductory weeks/discussions<br />
How can tools like READI help?<br />What READI does for Students<br />Helps dispel misconceptions about distance learning<br />Bridges gap between student’s perceptions of distance learning and the reality of it.<br />Gives clear, rich feedback in multiple forms to a student about his/her strengths and opportunities for growth.<br />Opens dialogue between student and administrator<br />Offers remedial tools and suggestive helpful feedback text<br />What READI does for Institutions<br />Flags students who are at risk and signals strong students.<br />Provides clear, defined, easy-to-read scoring of student’s strong points and areas of weakness.<br />Opens dialogue between student and administrator.<br />Provides valuable insight to learning styles, attributes, and skills that should be considered in developing and delivering online classes.<br />Assists administrators as they plan for future student services.<br />