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 • • • • • 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) • • • • • 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!!!