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Bb presentation 2012 new orleans v4


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This presentation investigates the characteristics of an online graduate degree program in library and information studies (LIS), and its unusual success in retaining students to degree conferral. It has been reported for more than a dozen years that attrition rates for distance education programs are higher than for those programs in which instruction is delivered face to face. In the present study an online master's degree program in LIS that has maintained an overall retention rate higher than 90 percent over five successive entering classes is examined for explanatory characteristics. These characteristics are described and compared with attributes that the literature relates to retention success. Mapping the characteristics of our LIS program to the factors for retention requires description of specific implementations of the program design. We detail the factors and activities recommended for student retention and provide a summary of the activities inherent in the implementation our successful LIS program. Additional question for investigation are identified.

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Bb presentation 2012 new orleans v4

  1. 1. Profiles in Retention Steven MacCall & Elizabeth Aversa School of Library & Information Studies The University of Alabama
  2. 2. OVERVIEW • How the UA SLIS program began • What the statistics revealed six years later • How the UA SLIS program was designed • What the literature of online education had to say • How the program design and the literature converged • What (and how) the graduates learned 2
  3. 3. HOW THE SLIS PROGRAM BEGAN In 2005, an established graduate program responded to • Competition • The needs of the library/information sciences professions • Uneven geographic distribution of graduate programs in North America • An increasingly part-time, employed student population 3
  4. 4. WHAT THE STATISTICS REVEALED – Retention in Program Over 5 Cohorts Year enrolled N of students N of students retained through year 1 Percent of students retained through year 1 N of students graduated or active in 2011 Percent of students graduated or active in 2011 Years of academic eligibility remaining in 2011 2005 45 43 95.5 41 91.1 0 2006 43 40 93.0 34 79.1 1 2007 42 42 100.0 40 95.2 2 2008 43 40 93.0 40 93.0 3 2009 43 40 93.0 40 93.0 4 2005-2009 216 205 95.0 196 90.7 - 4
  5. 5. WHAT THE STATISTICS REVEALED – Time to Degree Over 5 Cohorts Date Enrolled N of inactive or withdrawn students N of students completing in 1-2 years N of students completing in 3-4 years N of students completing in 5 or more years or still active as of 12/30/2011 N of students admitted in this year 1005 4 29 11 1 45 2006 8 30 4 1 43 2007 2 27 11 2 42 2008 3 26 7 7 43 2009 3 35 n/a 5 43 5
  6. 6. HOW THE SLIS PROGRAM WAS DESIGNED The program was designed to • Deliver online, synchronous instruction using Blackboard Vista™ and Wimba Live Classroom; • Recruit and enroll an annual cohort of 40-45 highly motivated and well-prepared graduate students; • Enable each cohort to develop their own learning community; • Avoid common barriers to program completion (isolation, financial concerns, and time management issues); and • Retain and graduate students who would be ambassadors for the program and The University of Alabama. 6
  7. 7. WHAT THE LITERATURE TOLD US: FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH RETENTION • Administrative and student support services • Academic integration with other programs • Synchronous delivery of instruction • Utilization of a variety of presentation tools • Technology preparation • Social integration of students with faculty, others to avoid isolation • Communication • Clear expectations for students and faculty 7
  8. 8. 1 - WHERE DO SLIS PRACTICES AND RESEARCH ON RETENTION CONVERGE? Administrative Support • Personal communications begin at prospect inquiry and continue through alumni affiliations. • Multiple messages keep prospects and applicants informed. • Plans are developed for enrollment & retention each year. • Financial assistance information is provided. • Opportunities are available for faculty to develop courses with relevant support both from technology and pedagogy perspectives. 8
  9. 9. 2 - WHERE DO SLIS PRACTICES AND RESEARCH ON RETENTION CONVERGE? Student Support Services • A 3-4 day on site orientation/boot camp was required. • Attention is given to technologies, course management & communications during orientation. • Online access to services including registration, financial aid, library and information services, counseling and disabilities services was available before and during orientation. • Advising by faculty is available from admission through graduation. 9
  10. 10. 3 - WHERE DO SLIS PRACTICES AND RESEARCH ON RETENTION CONVERGE? Academic Experience • Requirements and opportunities are the same for online and on-campus students. • Faculty & advisers focus on integration of student academic program and socialization through activities, town hall meetings, and other community building mechanisms. • Online classes are taught by the same faculty who teach on- campus And other face-to-face classes. • Students are introduced to the program’s core curriculum at orientation so that expectations of students and faculty are clear. 10
  11. 11. 4 - WHERE DO SLIS PRACTICES AND RESEARCH ON RETENTION CONVERGE? Instructional Delivery • Synchronous, real-time contact encourages communication and networking. • Faculty are free to utilize presentation methods appropriate to the content of the course taught. • Faculty have course monitors to assist with delivery of instruction. 11
  12. 12. 5 - WHERE DO SLIS PRACTICES AND RESEARCH ON RETENTION CONVERGE Technology Preparation & Support • Technical support is provide for students and faculty by graduate assistants who monitor classes. • Students are introduced to the technologies and have opportunities to “test drive” the system before attending orientation. • Faculty have options for technology training throu the School and the University. • Students are required to use a wide range of technologies during the first semester so as develop skills to be used during subsequent classes & activities. 12
  13. 13. 6 - WHERE DO SLIS PRACTICES AND RESEARCH ON RETENTION CONVERGE Social Integration • Courses include group (team) assignments & projects. • Students are encouraged to communicate between classes on both social and academic matters. • In-person opportunities at conferences, visits, etc. • Availability of break-out rooms and other technologies for informal meeting, socializing, and working together • Formal meetings and town hall events are held for group participation in life of the program • Extra-curricular opportunities are available to all students • Student chapters of professional organizations • Programs such as presentations, lectures, interviews • Job placement and mentorships 13
  14. 14. STUDENTS WERE RETAINED, BUT WHY? AND HOW WAS THEIR LEARNING ACCOMPLISHED? MacCall and Cox Study of Student Experience in a Synchronous Graduate Program in LIS • underway July 2012 • designed to uncover what individual students and their cohorts have to say about their experience in the program at SLIS • How did each program design aspect work for them? • How do student learning styles affect their responses to the program? • How can these results inform continuing or new programs? 14
  15. 15. Contact Us • Steven MacCall • Elizabeth Aversa 15
  16. 16. 16 We value your feedback! Please fill out a session evaluation.