How online classes hurt student retention


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How online classes hurt student retention

  1. 1. Caddell 1Nancy CaddellENG 101Professor Alicia BoltonApril 11, 2012 How Online Classes Hurt Student Retention There are 168 hours in a week. The typical full time community college student works 30hours, is in class 12 hours, does homework 36 hours, and takes care of their children 35 hours ina week. That is a total of 113 hours that does not include housework, travel, down time, or sleep.What makes that student stay in school? How do we encourage them to stay in school?Technology has allowed colleges to provide online classes to encourage retention, but theseadvances have negated the major pros we use to encourage student retention; studentengagement, fellowship, and communication between students encourages students to completetheir degrees. Some people would argue that online classes save time and offer more convenience. Forexample if they are just taking one class it would be easier to take the class from home, thiswould work if they don’t need extra help, have the desire to get other’s opinions or needsomeone else’s point of view. If they find themselves stuck on an assignment, a problem occursor their computer fails, then they will be on the campus anyway. Some people say that it saves time by taking online courses. However, the student spendsmore time studying on their own, making up for the knowledge provided by professors duringlecture times. By attending an online class the student does not have any face-to-face time withthe professor or other students. Both of which are important to education and retention of
  2. 2. Caddell 2students. According to Sarah Carr “Anecdotal evidence and studies by individual institutionssuggest that course-completion and program-retention rates are generally lower in distance-education courses than in their face-to-face counterparts”(qtd. in Snart 34). In other wordstudents are less likely to complete the class than their counter part that is attending the sameclass in a brick and mortar class. In Spring 2007 online retention rates were only 76% while oncampus courses were 86%. These percentages prove the statement made by Karen Nitkin: “Online courses offer numerous advantages: students, parents, and educators are attracted to their flexibility, and they offer students the opportunity to take courses not available at their schools. However, online education is not a replacement for teaching in traditional classrooms and should be limited. Face-to-face interaction is critical to learning, and it is not advisable that any student receive all of his or her education online and outside of the classroom.(Nitkin par.1)”This tells us that while there are advantages to online education we should still have thatimportant face-to-face interaction. Students who become more involved in the activities at school or more engaged withother students have a higher success rate. Take for instance students who make use of studygroups. Those students have an advantage of discovering how three or four other people gatheredthe same knowledge. These students share notes and each other’s perspectives. The fellowstudent may be able to explain the data in a way different from the professor so that fellowstudents understand. As Richard Light tells “professors increasingly are encouraging students towork together on homework assignments. Some faculty members are even creating small study
  3. 3. Caddell 3groups in their courses, to help students work together outside of class.”(8-9). While this use tobe considered cheating, professors have seen the light and encourage students to work together. Study groups have many scholarly advantages but they also have advantages outside ofacademics. Student are able to depend on each other in these groups. According to anunidentified student “ Most of all, each of us in the group had to develop trust in one another. Weactually began to feel like a small community.” (Light 51). These groups provide student with asupport network that goes beyond academics, the students are able to talk to one another aboutmost things that are happening. I remember that in my study group a few years ago we woulddiscuss everything. We had a member debating on dropping out of school, we discussed theadvantage and disadvantages and gave our opinion, that student made his decision but stated thatit helped to talk to the group about it. The four of us in that study group are still good friendstoday even though we have already completed the program of study. Another advantage to study groups is finding someone who may have already taken acourse you need and sharing their knowledge with new information you may receive. It can betricky to find others who have already had the course you are looking at but you can always askthe professor if they know of someone who would be willing to trade information. I still offer tohelp one of my old accounting professors if she has a new student who needs help. These studygroups are a great tool in student retention. By staying active students are more likely to remainin their programs of study. Students feel that there is help there if needed. However, a study group is just one way to help with student retention. Retention being“the fact of maintaining, keeping up or continuing to use something” (Oxford 774). This meanshow do colleges encourage and keep students in school. Another popular tool in student retention
  4. 4. Caddell 4is clubs and organizations. The more involved a student is in extracurricular activities the morethey participate in the courses they are taking. Take for instance the opinion in the followingquote: “According to Beil, Reisen, Zea, and Caplan (1999), students who are integrated into academic and social aspects of a university are more likely to become committed to that university. In their work, Beil et al. found higher levels of social and academic integration connected with higher levels of commitment. Similarly, when discussing student persistence, Tinto (1998) stated, “One thing we know about persistence is that involvement matters. The more academically and socially involved individuals are . . . the more likely they are to persist” (p. 168). Kuh’s (2007) concept of engagement and Astin’s (1984) student involvement theory appear to offer support for academic and social integration. According to Kuh (2007), students who engage in the entirety of the university experience (academically, socially, and physically) are more likely to persist in college, and Astin (1984) suggested that the successful student is actively involved in residential living, student government, and other campus activities.”(Wolfe 20)The authors seem to understand that the more active a student is with the parts of the school themore satisfied they are overall. Belonging to clubs provides students with a different way to learn. The success of this isproven here, “Those students who make connections between what goes on inside and outside
  5. 5. Caddell 5the classroom report more satisfying college experience. (Light 14)” They are happier and morecontent with what they are learning. Many clubs and organization teach students thru actionpublic speaking, leadership, and thinking skills. As a former chapter and regional officer in PhiTheta Kappa I learned many new things about public speaking. At my induction ceremony,where I was becoming a member, I helped with the ceremony for the induction. I knew nothingabout doing this until I walked in the door that day. I helped with creating, presenting, anddistributing many of projects that the organization worked on during my time there. As aregional officer I was given the opportunity to lead groups of my fellow students during ourconference weekends. Some of these things were in a new perspective than I had ever been in,but they lead me to participate more in my classes. I learned to think outside the box and comeup with creative ways to fix issues. I as secretary created the quarterly newsletter for theCarolinas Region. That experience helps me the writings I do now.No it does not all fall to one spot to keep student in school. Retention is a process best describedLinda Lau: “Student retention has become a challenging problem for the academic community; therefore, effective measures for student retention must be implemented in order to increase the retention of qualified students at institutions of higher learning. This paper suggests that institutional administrators, faculty, and students play a vital role in improving student retention. For instance, institutional administrators can help students stay in school by providing them with the appropriate funding, academic support services, and the availability of physical facilities, in addition to the effective management of multiculturalism and diversity on campus. Faculty members can help to
  6. 6. Caddell 6 maintain a positive learning environment for students by using multimedia technology and innovative instructional techniques such as cooperative and collaborative learning in the classroom. Ultimately, the success of college retention depends on the students themselves. Therefore, students must be motivated to participate actively in their own learning process.” (126)Ms. Lau is positive in her thoughts that it takes all members of a school to make college retentionwork, but is clear that it will untimely fall on the student. The student must seek out the help andbecome involved in the college and its community. The things we learn and the support we receive from our class and outside sources arewhat keeps us in school. We have many new ways to find education, but we are excited to usethe tried and true to gain knowledge. Many professors are even adapting their idea to use whatworks. For example they now encourage students to build study groups. While online class maybe a way to cut cost, colleges seem to not understand all the cost they entail. They are missingthe parts that students depend on the most to keep going and feel satisfaction. If we must cut thecost use a hybrid class that combines face-to-face and online learning so that it does not cost usthe most valuable things such as interaction with others.
  7. 7. Caddell 7 Works CitedLau, Linda K. "Institutional factors affecting student retention." Education 124.1 (2003): 126-136. Academic OneFile. Web. 11 Apr. 2012.Light, Richard J. Making The Most Of College: Students Speak Their Minds. Cambridge:Harvard University Press. 2001. Print.Nitkin, Karen. "Online Classes Should Be Used Moderately." Has Technology IncreasedLearning? Ed. Roman Espejo. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2009. At Issue. Rpt. from "Login andLearn." NEA Today (May 2005). Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 11 Apr. 2012."Retention." The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989. Print.Snart, Jason. Hybrid Learning: The Perils and Promise of Blending Online and Face-to-FaceInstruction in Higher Education. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, LLC, 2010. Print.Wolfe, Brent D., and Gregor Kay. "Perceived Impact Of An Outdoor Orientation Program ForFirst-Year University Students." Journal Of Experiential Education 34.1 (2011): 19-34.Academic Search Premier. Web. 11 Apr. 2012.