Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

Report
Paving the Road to Retention:
Quality Support Services
for Online Students
e-Cornucopia Conference:
Quality Learning Through Technology
May 31, 2013
Dr. Marija Franetovic | LTU eLearning Services
Overview
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Relevance
LTU Context
Need for Change
Quality Framework/Retention
Student Services: Considerations and Results
– LTU Online, Technology/Instructional Assistance,
Academic Achievement Center, Library, ESL, etc.
• Activity
I’m an Instructor…what can I do about
online student services?
• Be aware of ‘lessons learned’ from moving student services
from on-ground to online
• Familiarize yourself with student services/Get to know the
staff … and options for collaboration
– e.g. course design/delivery
• Spread a consistent university message
• Identify issues early in your course and connect students
to the appropriate services
• Promote access, clarity, and integration of student services
Lawrence Technological University
• Private small/medium size university w/LTU Online programs
• U.S. News and World Report ranked LTU 6th nationally for online
undergraduate education and 1st in the nation for undergraduate
online engagement (Ranking methodology)
– Online graduate engineering programs, #32; Online graduate business
programs, #119; Online graduate education programs, #138.
• Increase of online student population
– 2006 (~150) – 2014 (~800)
– All Campus (digital marketing firm) added ~100
• 10% of net tuition revenue from online courses
• 90% retention for online students
• LTU President Virinder K. Moudgil’s focus:
enrollment/retention/completion rates
Need for change in student services
Online Students
• Online higher education enrollments are
projected to reach 25 million by 2015 ; Classes exclusively on
physical campuses are expected to plummet from 14.4 million in
2010 to just 4.1 million five years later (Ambient Insight, 2011)
• Who’s a “Typical” College Student (Hess, 9/28/11) Of the 17.6
million undergrads now enrolled in higher education
• 43% attend 2-year institutions
• 37% are enrolled part-time
• 32% are working full-time
• 25% are over age of 30
• Only 15% attend 4-year colleges and live on campus
• Students as consumers, less loyalty, more as ‘shoppers’
Student Services and
Online Student Retention
Traditional aged students may not have difficulty adapting to
the online virtual interactions, as they have grown up in the
electronic age…. However, with these students, student
retention will become a larger issue. It will be more difficult to
retain students who may not have any personal investment or
pride in their cyber university. Students are retained by the
quality of education they receive and also by the value-added
(Student Affairs) components. Personal pride comes from
connection to the institution and to other people. This feeling
will be more difficult to create through a cyber campus. There
will be no institution loyalty. People will take courses from a
variety of institutions, and have a patchwork degree. If, as
Student Affairs professionals, we can understand our student
profile and assess their needs, we may be able to retain the
students longer. (Kretovics, 2003)
Quality Framework
• Sloan Consortium’s 5 pillars toward quality
online education
– Learning Effectiveness, Scale, Faculty Satisfaction
– “Student satisfaction” and “Access”
– Influence students’ ability to persist in a degree program
• Adherence to Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
guidelines used to evaluate/accredit online program
offerings
– LTU approved to offer up to 30% of its programs online
WCET-LAAP Project on Student Services http://wcet.wiche.edu/
Considerations
• Improved ‘roadmap for online student success’,
including introductions to all services
• Common service definitions and information in
all syllabi and by all instructors
• Consistent and cross-semester quality control in
online classes
• Challenge for online instructors to “sense” that
students need help
• Improved automated early warning systems
(students “going missing” from online classes)
LTU Online: Courses
• Module “0” Orientation in all courses
– Models online learning layout and functionality
– Provides an orientation to technology and resources
about readiness/suggestions for online learning
• Course Audits for QA
– Syllabi, Navigation, Modules, Theory and Practice
– Interaction: Announcements, Discussion Board,
Laboratory-style courses (Simulations, Kits)
• Faculty expectations and training programs
• Midterm and Final Student Evaluation feedback
LTU Online: Early Academic Guidance
Considerations
• More online real-time support services (similar to
Library’s move from “business hours” to “7x24”)
• Potential outsourcing of some online student
services (proctoring, tutoring)
• Increase online students’ comfort level with
instructional technologies used in higher ed
• Increase staff comfort level and rate of adoption with
online communication and technology tools to focus
on ‘high-touch’
• Further evaluate/implement other
technologies/tools in spite of rate of change
Technology/Instructional Assistance
• Help Desk [email protected]
– Technical assistance is filtered through this office. Once request is
received, the Help Desk staff decide where the problem is solved
– Includes evening and weekend email services
– http://www.ltu.edu/ehelp
– Discounted and free software available
• eLearning Services [email protected]
– Assistance with instructional technology/course-related questions
– Videos for students that introduce them to Blackboard
• http://tinyurl.com/BbStudents1
Covers log in, access Syllabus, overview of Bb screens, upload/download
documents (assignments)
• http://tinyurl.com/BbStudents2
Covers Safe Assign, Discussion Boards, taking tests, reviewing grades
• IT Services (infrastructure and back office)
– Off-hours e-mail response with some automated warning systems
Technologies:
Fit the Need? Supported? Staff Trained?
Academic Achievement Center (Tutoring)
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Online tutoring
Online workshops
Online resources
Early Academic Guidance System
Reviewing Map-Works retention system
http://www.webebi.com/mapworks
AAC Orientation for Online Students
AAC: Online Writing Workshop
Library
• New OCLC WorldShare catalog
• Extensive digital holdings
• Online reference
– Research Help Now - 24/7 online chat support
with a consortium of other Michigan libraries
– [email protected]
• Social media presence: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr,
YouTube
• Online Library Orientation and other tutorials
• Online Subject Guides
Library: Online Research Instruction
English as a Second Language Program
– ESL Website
– ESL Subject Guide http://libguides.ltu.edu/esl
– Mango Languages (online learning in 35 languages)
www.ltu.edu/library/
– Online ‘0’ credit course using online learning ESL
software Reading Horizons
– 5 advanced ESL courses: 2 to be delivered online for
fall 13, remaining 3 to be developed by fall 14
Considerations
• Listen to student concerns in a structured, proactive way
• Create an active virtual community
– Improve “communication between” or integration of
services
– Coordinate online and on-ground student services (Online is
often forgotten about when new ideas emerge)
• Increase adoption
– Encourage on-campus students to use virtual services
– Better market services through multiple venues
• Further evaluate from online student perspectives/ask
students what they need
Online Student Services cont.
• Applying, Financial Aid, Advising, Registration, Textbooks (All Campus
marketing company assistance)
• http://onlinedegrees.ltu.edu/
• How to address needs of online student population?
– Student Affairs
• http://ltu.edu/student_affairs/index.asp
– Disability Services
• http://ltu.edu/student_affairs/disability.asp
– Career Services
• http://ltu.edu/career_services/index.asp
– Research Support Services
• http://www.research.ltu.edu
Future Steps
Critics and practitioners alike view online learning as a
“one size fits all” approach that treats students as mere
nameless, faceless numbers and ignores all the ways
interaction can come into play – including email,
texting, chat, video, gaming, social networking and
virtual reality/simulations – as well as the inherent
possibilities for customization of the learning
experience to the student as data on performance
outcomes become available in a more real-time way
(Calling Tank, 2011)
Calling Tank, 09/14/2011, http://www.callingtank.com/blog/2011/09/dystopian-visions-of-digital-education.html
References
ACT, Inc. (2010). What Works in Student Retention? Fourth National Survey.
Report for All Colleges and Universities. ACT: Iowa City, IA
Hess , F. (2011, Sept 28). Old school: college's most important trend is the rise
of the adult student. The Atlantic, Retrieved from
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/09/old-school-collegesmost-important-trend-is-the-rise-of-the-adult-student/245823/
Heyman, E. (2010). Overcoming Student Retention Issues in Higher Education
Online Programs. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. 13(4).
Jones S. & Meyer K. (2012). The virtual face of distance learning at public
colleges and universities: what do websites reveal about administrative
support services? Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. 15 (5).
Kretovics, M. (2003). The role of student affairs in distance education: Cyberservices or virtual communities. Online Journal of Distance Learning
Administration, 6(3).
Liao H. & Lu H. (2008). The role of experience and innovation characteristics
in the adoption and continued use of e-learning websites. Computers &
Education. 51, 1405–1416.
Moore, J. C. (2010). A Synthesis of Sloan-C Effective Practices, November
2010. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks. 14(3), 24-45.
Perna, L. W. (2010). Understanding the Working College Student. Academe.
96(4), 30-33.
References cont.
Roberts, J. B., Crittenden, L. A., & Crittenden, J. C. (2011). Students with
Disabilities and Online Learning: A Cross-Institutional Study of Perceived
Satisfaction with Accessibility Compliance and Services. Internet and Higher
Education. 14(4), 242-250.
SchWeber, C. (2008). Student Learning and Student Services: Policy Issues.
Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks. 12(2), 67-72.
Shelton, K. (2011). A Review of Paradigms for Evaluating the Quality of Online
Education Programs. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration.
14(1).
Tripathi, M., & Jeevan, V. K. J. (2009). Quality Assurance in Distance Learning
Libraries. Quality Assurance in Education: An International Perspective. 17(1),
45-60.
Ullmann, J. (2009). Alternative Uses for Course Management Systems: They
Aren't Just for Classes Any More. Online Journal of Distance Learning
Administration. 12(3).
Wang, Q. (2006). Quality Assurance--Best Practices for Assessing Online
Programs. International Journal on E-Learning. 5(2), 265-274.
Yeo, K. M., & Mayadas, A. F. (2010). The Sloan-C Pillars: Towards a Balanced
Approach to Measuring Organizational Learning. Journal of Asynchronous
Learning Networks. 14(2), 45-52.
What do you think?
• “What else may be done to support online
students at LTU?” At your university?
• “What may be different ways of assessing
quality for Student Support Services?”
• “How can we share good / best practices?”
THANK YOU!!!

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