Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

increasing online student retention

Understanding the Online Learning Experience

Barbara Zuck, assistant professor of business at Montana State University–Northern, was teaching a 100-level online course in business leadership and wanted to understand her students’ experiences in the course. So at the end of the course she asked students three open-ended questions:

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How to Make Your Online Students Feel Connected

The college student experience, even for graduate students, is much more than course assignments, so why is it that the online learner’s experience is often limited to logging in, reading assignments and posting on the discussion board?

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Measuring Educational Experience Using the Community of Inquiry Framework

End-of-course evaluations, conducted properly, can serve as valuable tools for improving online programs, but they’re not without their drawbacks.

“One of the problems is current students benefit little from the end-of-course surveys,” said Phil Ice, EdD, associate vice president of research and development at American Public University System. “Whenever you’re measuring what the student thinks of the course or their perceived learning, instructor performance, the way assets are utilized, you’re capturing that information retrospectively. So you’re not really helping the students who are engaged right now.”

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Preparing Your Online Students for the Tough Weeks Ahead

Our courses are rolled out to online students with assignments scheduled for each week. Some of these assignments are relatively easy, meaning there will be weeks that are “light” in terms of scheduled assignments, while others will be “killer” weeks because of especially difficult assignments and/or a large number of assignments. While you need to prepare students to do all the assignments, it is especially important that you pre-assist them for those killer weeks. If you don’t do this, their anxiety can markedly increase, their involvement in and enthusiasm for the course can decrease, and you can lose them altogether.

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Four Pillars of Online Course Quality

The rapid growth of online education, coupled with instances of lax academic integrity and cases involving questionable instructional quality, has put the entire industry under the microscope. As a result, today’s distance education programs are looking to not only prove the quality of their programs, but improve them as well.

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Student Performance and Satisfaction: Online vs. Face to Face

Many faculty have questions about the relative merits of online courses versus the traditional face-to-face classroom experiences. Researchers also have an interest in the question, and a variety of studies have been conducted with the usual mixed results but overall accumulating evidence that online courses can provide rich learning experiences. But for many faculty, it is still an open and individual question. Many would like to have the opportunity Kathleen Dolan describes.

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Strategies for Increasing Online Student Retention and Satisfaction

As an increasing number of colleges and universities identify online education as a critical component to their long-term strategy, the issue of retention can no longer be ignored. It is mandatory for everyone who touches the distance learner to understand why these students leave their online courses, and what it will take to keep them there.

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