Beyond the Retention Goulash

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Paper presented at the 2011 UTL Learning Futures Conference at the University of New England.

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  • Approximately 250,000 students have studied by distance through Massey University. As a nation, New Zealand has the highest proportion of its universities in the world’s top 500 – showing the high quality of the university system. Number of PhDs, etc. We are recognized as New Zealand’s defining university and sought after throughout the world for our innovation and excellence in distance delivery.
  • Indeed the current funding model for HE is working against traditional distance learners as this recent newspaper clipping illustrates. There are currently serious questions being asked about the value and return on investment of distance education.
  • These days, with a name like Brown, I feel rather ‘hip’ with a middle name beginning with ‘e’. You could say putting the ‘e’ in learning comes naturally. On a more serious note, my reflections on e-learning are grounded in the saying that the light comes through the cracks .
  • These days, with a name like Brown, I feel rather ‘hip’ with a middle name beginning with ‘e’. You could say putting the ‘e’ in learning comes naturally. On a more serious note, my reflections on e-learning are grounded in the saying that the light comes through the cracks .
  • 2293 views from website Quiz results 54% had studied at university previously 89% stated that they enjoy reading and understood what they read 80% are comfortable juggling commitments and 84% used to working to deadlines. 41% stated that they needed prompts from other people to motivate them. 24% were not sure if they had enough time in their schedule to fit in extra study for busy periods or catch up if needed.
  • Course Choice
  • Survey results 11% of respondents had viewed the study previews 53% of respondents noted that they would have accessed these tools if they had been aware that were available. 33% of respondents believed they were not applicable to their situation.  
  • However, Stream can also be used to entrench 1960s style education on 21st century networks and the outcomes depend heavily on leadership and support for whole of system change.
  • Generally you need to ask: Who are the learners? Where will the learners study? What do I want them to learn? How will I need to engage with them? What resources will they have access to? What resources will I need to provide?
  • Hopefully I’ve left enough time for questions.
  • Beyond the Retention Goulash

    1. 1. Beyond the Retention Goulash: Supporting the Transition of Distance Learners Mark Brown, Sandi Shillington, Andrea MacKay & Shelley Paewai UNE Conference Sept, 2011
    2. 2. Palmerston North <ul><ul><li>Auckland </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wellington </li></ul></ul>Singapore International • Multi-campus (18,000 internal students) • Major distance education provider (17,000 students) • Approx 4000 international students About Massey University
    3. 3. Beyond the Retention Goulash
    4. 4. <ul><li>Background context </li></ul><ul><li>Conceptual framework </li></ul><ul><li>Online tools and supports </li></ul>Beyond the Retention Goulash
    5. 5. 1. Background Context
    6. 6. In 2009… • almost 80% of all distance students are over 25 years of age 1. Background Context
    7. 7. In 2009… • approximately two-thirds of distance students are female 1. Background Context
    8. 8. “ A real education takes place on campus!” 1. Background Context
    9. 9. <ul><li>In 2010… </li></ul><ul><li>Publication of league tables: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>attrition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>completion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>progression </li></ul></ul>http://www.tec.govt.nz/ 1. Background Context
    10. 10. 1. Background Context
    11. 11. 1. Background Context
    12. 12. 1. Background Context
    13. 13. 2. Conceptual Framework
    14. 14. 2. Conceptual Framework <ul><li>• Moves away from “goulash” approach (Simpson </li></ul><ul><li>1997) to one that is: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>cost effective, “on time” and “personalised” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- tailored for particular student groups/ cohorts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- focused </li></ul></ul><ul><li>• Based on review of the research literature and </li></ul><ul><li>best practice </li></ul><ul><li>• Has three main components… </li></ul>
    15. 15. <ul><li>Appropriate course choice </li></ul><ul><li>Proactive personalised contact/information </li></ul><ul><li>Early identification of ‘at risk’ </li></ul><ul><li>External support </li></ul><ul><li>Positive interactions with university </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge of university systems, easy access to resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Feel part of the university </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Academic confidence </li></ul><ul><li>Academic capacity </li></ul>2. Conceptual Framework Key success factors…
    16. 16. Tertiary Intervention What do we do for failing students Secondary Intervention What do we do for at-risk students? Targeted/Selective Primary Intervention What do we do for targeted groups of students? General/Primary Intervention What do we do for all students? Intervention Pyramid 2. Conceptual Framework Adapted from Wilson (2009)
    17. 17. Support and Intervention Framework INTERVENTIONS Student Lifecycle 2. Conceptual Framework
    18. 18. Intervention Plan 2. Conceptual Framework
    19. 19. 3. Online Tools and Supports
    20. 20. <ul><li>Focus on managing expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Content and tools to assist the student to make good choices </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Distance learning and how it works </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Considerations when choosing courses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Planning your study </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Services and resources </li></ul></ul>3. Online Tools and Supports Thinking About Study - ‘the website’
    21. 21. <ul><li>Self directed exercises </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Literacy/numeracy exercises </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is distance learning for me? Quiz </li></ul></ul>3. Online Tools and Supports Thinking About Study - ‘Online preparation tools’
    22. 22. 3. Online Tools and Supports
    23. 23. 3. Online Tools and Supports
    24. 24. 3. Online Tools and Supports
    25. 25. <ul><li>Thinking About Study - ‘Work/Study/Life Calculator’ </li></ul>3. Online Tools and Supports
    26. 26. 3. Online Tools and Supports Stats from Feb 2011 to June 2011…   • Workload calculator = 360 downloads • Weekly planner = 126 downloads
    27. 27. Making Choices – “online course previews’ 3. Online Tools and Supports
    28. 28. 3. Online Tools and Supports
    29. 29. 3. Online Tools and Supports
    30. 30. 3. Online Tools and Supports
    31. 31. First Few Weeks - ‘ Online orientation course’ 3. Online Tools and Supports
    32. 32. • Total number of distance students accessing online orientation course • Total number of newly enrolled distance students accessing online orientation course 3. Online Tools and Supports
    33. 33. Progression - ‘Assignment Pre-reading Service’ 3. Online Tools and Supports
    34. 34. 3. Online Tools and Supports <ul><li>Low stakes, data driven engine </li></ul><ul><li>The system allows us to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>identify particular student groups and provide targeted assistance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>generate reports that identify individual students who might benefit from additional support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>record actions taken by the University or the student in response to communications </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Offering students timely support: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- for all students, customising services/approaches to maximise likelihood of uptake </li></ul></ul>Progression – ‘Early Intervention System’
    35. 35. Conclusion
    36. 36. Conclusion • Improving retention is likely to become even more of a focus for governments and policy makers throughout the Western world.
    37. 37. Conclusion • Improving retention is likely to become even more of a focus for governments and policy makers throughout the Western world. • It remains to be seen what impact ‘The Bridging the Distance Project’ has on retention, progression and completion at Massey University.
    38. 38. Conclusion • Improving retention is likely to become even more of a focus for governments and policy makers throughout the Western world. • It remains to be seen what impact ‘The Bridging the Distance Project’ has on retention, progression and completion at Massey University. • The next steps at Massey involve interpreting and then acting on usage and analytics data.
    39. 39. Conclusion Adding a qualitative dimension In your own words…   http://wikiresearcher.org/DEHub_Research_Projects/DEHubMassey_University • Learner stories – video diaries
    40. 40. “ A prudent question is one-half of wisdom . ” Francis Bacon http://tinyurl.com/solt-mbrown Questions [email_address]

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