Despite the tremendous growth of distance education, retention remains its Achilles’ heel.
Estimates of the failed retention rate for distance education undergraduates range from 20 to 50 percent. Distance education administrators believe the failed retention rate for online courses may be 10 to 20 percent higher than for face-to-face courses.
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. Featuring a collection of top articles from Distance Education Report, this new Faculty Focus special report provides practical strategies for improving online student retention, engagement and satisfaction. Articles include:
• 11 Tips for Improving Retention of Distance Learning Students
• Understanding the Impact of Attrition on Your School
• Taking a Holistic View of Student Retention
• Eight Suggestions to Help You Get Your Retention Act Together Now
• Online Mentoring Builds Retention
• Nine Truths about Recruitment and Retention
• Finding Helpful Patterns in Student Engagement
With the strategic importance of distance education courses on the rise, this report will help you understand the key variables that impact the retention of your web-based students and adopt proactive strategies proven to mitigate potential retention problems.
One of the many lessons learned from the early years of distance education is the fact that you cannot simply pluck an instructor out of the classroom, plug him into an online course, and expect him to be effective in this new and challenging medium. Some learned this lesson the hard way, while others took a proactive approach to faculty training. All of us continue to refine our approach and discover our own best practices. Today, it’s possible to learn much from the mistakes and successes of those who blazed the trail before us. Faculty development for distance educators is a critical component of all successful distance education programs. Well thought-out faculty development weaves together needed training, available resources, and ongoing support, and carries with it the same expectations for quality teaching that institutions of higher education have for their face-toface classes. This special report, Faculty Development in Distance Education: Issues, Trends and Tips, features 12 articles pulled from the pages of Distance Education Report, including:
• Faculty Development: Best Practices from World Campus
• Developing Faculty Competency in Online Pedagogy
• A Learner-Centered, Emotionally Engaging Approach to Online Learning
• How to Get the Best Out of Online Adjuncts
• Workload, Promotion, and Tenure Implications of Teaching Online
• Four Steps to Just-in-Time Faculty Training
This report is loaded with practical strategies that can help you build a comprehensive faculty development program, helping ensure that instructors stay current in both online pedagogy and practical technical know-how. No matter what the particular character of your program is, I think you’ll find many ideas you can use in here.
Online Student Engagement Tools and Strategies
Most online students, even those who are successful, will tell you it takes an extra dose of motivation to stay on top of their assignments compared to the traditional classroom. In fact, the anytime/anywhere convenience of online learning sometimes makes it too convenient … to procrastinate, forget about, and become otherwise disengaged. No wonder online courses have an attrition rate that’s 10 – 20 percent higher than their face-to-face counterparts.
For faculty teaching in the online classroom, this reality underscores the importance of having activities that build student engagement and help create a sense of community among their geographically dispersed students.
Online Student Engagement Tools and Strategies features 11 articles pulled from the pages of Online Classroom and provides practical advice from online instructors who recognize the value of engagement and its role in student retention and success.
Here are just a few of the articles you will find in this report:
• Engaging Students with Synchronous Methods in Online Courses
• Indicators of Engagement in the Online Classroom
• Teaching Online With Errol: A Tried and True Mini-Guide to Engaging Online Students
• Engage Online Learners with Technology: A Free Tool Kit
• Promoting Student Participation and Involvement in Online Instruction: Suggestions from the Front
In short, this special report explains how adjustments in tone, technology, teaching presence and organization can bring positive changes to student learning.
Just over 9% of all students attended more than one institution during the 2012-13 academic year.
The postsecondary student mobility rate is the percentage of students, across all levels of study, who enrolled in more than one institution in a single academic year (including summer and concurrent enrollments.) It provides a current indicator of the prevalence of multi-institutional student pathways.
Teens share a wide range of information about themselves on social media sites;1 indeed the sites themselves are designed to encourage the sharing of information and the expansion of networks. However, few teens embrace a fully public approach to social media. Instead, they take an array of steps to restrict and prune their profiles, and their patterns of reputation management on social media vary greatly according to their gender and network size. These are among the key findings from a new report based on a survey of 802 teens that examines teens’ privacy management on social media sites:
Teens are sharing more information about themselves on social media sites than they did in the
past. For the five different types of personal information that we measured in both 2006 and
2012, each is significantly more likely to be shared by teen social media users in our most recent
Teen Twitter use has grown significantly: 24% of online teens use Twitter, up from 16% in 2011.
The typical (median) teen Facebook user has 300 friends, while the typical teen Twitter user has
Focus group discussions with teens show that they have waning enthusiasm for Facebook,
disliking the increasing adult presence, people sharing excessively, and stressful “drama,” but
they keep using it because participation is an important part of overall teenage socializing.
60% of teen Facebook users keep their profiles private, and most report high levels of
confidence in their ability to manage their settings.
Teens take other steps to shape their reputation, manage their networks, and mask information
they don’t want others to know; 74% of teen social media users have deleted people from their
network or friends list.
Teen social media users do not express a high level of concern about third-party access to their
data; just 9% say they are “very” concerned.
On Facebook, increasing network size goes hand in hand with network variety, information
sharing, and personal information management.
In broad measures of online experience, teens are considerably more likely to report positive
experiences than negative ones. For instance, 52% of online teens say they have had an
experience online that made them feel good about themselves.
The Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology of Ontario (CAATs) are engaged in a wide range of international activities which have not previously been the subject of any in-depth study. This thesis provides the first comprehensive examination of the international student recruitment and educational export activities of the CAATs. This study, relying on literature reviews, a survey of the colleges and interviews with college administrators, explores the historical evolution of recruitment and export activities, the motivation behind participation in these activities and the financial implications of export and recruitment. The study also reviews some of the linkages between international student recruitment and export and internationalization and globalization.
Much has been written about the challenges of teaching an online course. While not discounting the unique (and sometimes frustrating) aspects of the online learning environment, it could be said that, despite the numerous differences, many of the same course management strategies that are essential to success in a traditional classroom also apply in the online classroom. These strategies include the importance of a strong syllabus, clear directions, well-organized materials, and timely feedback.
This paper reviews the use of online learning in higher education in Canada and internationally. The paper focuses on the following questions:
• What are the cost implications of a shift to online learning? Specifically, does a greater use of online instruction save institutions or systems money and, if so, under what circumstances?
• What do we know about the relationship between online learning and important variables
that are often considered when discussing the “quality” of an institution or of a system?
The methodology combines a review of published literature and an environmental scan of recent developments, recognizing the rapidly evolving nature of the subject matter.
The evidence reviewed suggests that, for a range of students and learning outcomes, fully online instruction produces learning that is on par with face-to-face instruction. The students most likely to benefit are those who are academically well prepared and highly motivated to learn independently.
Students who are not well prepared to learn at the postsecondary level or do not devote the necessary time to learning are less likely to benefit from online learning and may in fact do better in a face-to-face setting.
Workforce development issues have come to the forefront of national discussions as the country continues its recovery from the Great Recession. In this shifting economy, one way that job seekers, students and workers may improve their opportunities is by earning credentials. Colleges, states and the federal government have traditionally tracked the attainment of bachelor’s and associate’s degrees, but recent research suggests that there are other types of credentials that matter to employers. One-quarter of adults in the United States had a non-degree credential in fall 2012, and full-time workers with these credentials have higher median earnings than those without, according to a report released in January 2014 by the U.S. Census Bureau.1 The report shows that non-degree credentials are an important part of the labor market.
Post-secondary education is a cornerstone of Ontario’s continued prosperity. The Ontario government realizes this and confirmed its commitment to expanding post-secondary education in the 2010, 2011 and 2012 provincial budgets. The government announced funding allocations in all three budgets to support enrolment growth in the post-secondary sector. The 2011 budget committed the province to creating 60,000 more spaces in colleges and universities.
In November 2013, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) asked students to comment on their experience with summer and in-study employment. Of particular interest were: the number of jobs students were working during these terms;
whether or not these opportunities were within a student’s field of study; and whether they positively impacted their academic performance.
Results of OUSA’s 2013 Ontario Post-Secondary Student Survey (OPSSS) were further broken down based on institution and field of study for questions of particular interest. This was done to easily compare the responses from these distinct groups to
see how consistent the undergraduate employment experience was across academic disciplines and universities.
While the most traditional metric, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), measures all goods and services produced by a country, it has two critical shortcomings. First, by focusing exclusively on the economy, GDP fails to capture areas of our lives that we care about most like education, health, environmental quality, and the relationships we have with others. Second, it does not identify the costs of economic growth — like pollution.
To create a robust and more revealing measure of our social progress, the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) has been working with experts and everyday Canadians since 1999 to determine how we are really doing in the areas of our lives that matter most. The CIW measures overall wellbeing based on 64 indicators covering eight domains of vital importance to Canadians: Education, Community Vitality, Healthy Populations, Democratic Engagement, Environment, Leisure and Culture, Time Use, and Living Standards. The CIW’s comprehensive index of overall wellbeing tracks progress provincially and nationally and allows comparisons to GDP.
Comparing the CIW and GDP between 1994 and 2010 reveals a chasm between our wellbeing and economic growth both nationally and provincially. Over the 17-year period, GDP has grown almost four times more than our overall wellbeing. The trends clearly show that even when times are good, overall wellbeing does not keep up with economic growth and when times are bad, the impact on our wellbeing is even harsher. We have to ask ourselves, is this good enough?
This report analyzes the economic impact of post-secondary education (PSE) in Canada. It is one of three foundational studies by The Conference Board of Canada’s Centre for Skills and Post-Secondary Education. The report considers three kinds of economic impact: spending in the economy (either directly by PSE institutions or indirectly through tourism and other channels), human capital formation, and intellectual capital formation. The report develops a bottom-up approach to understanding impacts, from the PSE institutions to the broader economy.
In this special white paper based upon the Speak Up 2011 national !ndings, Project Tomorrow has partnered with DreamBox Learning to explore a new concept in the use of technology to personalize learning—intelligent adaptive learning™. With intelligent adaptive learning, every action that a student makes while working in a specially designed instructional technology software program is captured, including right and wrong answers, length of time in making decisions and the student’s individual decision-making strategies. The program typically analyzes about 48,000 pieces of information on a single student in a single hour to continuously adjust the student’s learning path. By synthesizing such fine=grained data, the program is able to continuously place students appropriately in lessons with the “just right” amount of difficulty, scaffolding, sequencing and hints, tailored especially to that student’s unique needs. The result is literally millions of individualized learning paths that ensure a high degree of personalized instruction for students as well as a wealth of assessment data that teachers can use to better tailor classroom instruction to their students.
While personalized learning as an important educational concept is not new, the ability to harness technological advancements as demonstrated with intelligent adaptive learning is a significant breakthrough concept for the classroom.
Walk into any college classroom and you’ll likely see some students concentrating intently on their note taking or on watching the instructor’s presentation. You’ll also likely see some students texting on their phones, checking Facebook
on their laptops or whispering with their neighbors. And perhaps some students have that distant look of daydreaming or the droopy head that signals a nap.
All of these behaviors reflect what students have come to expect while in the classroom: slide after slide of content, with barely enough time to write it all down, much less understand it on the spot. Even raising a hand for clarification can sometimes be out of the question if the instructor has already moved on or if a student is too embarrassed to ask in front of the entire class. And so students cope by either scrambling to keep up during class or by tuning out and hoping to catch up on the content later.
How much of a difference does it make whether a student of a given academic ability enters a more or a less selective four-year college? Some studies claim that attending a more academically selective college markedly improves one’s graduation prospects. Others report the reverse: an advantage from attending an institution where one’s own skills exceed most other students.
Using multilevel models and propensity score matching methods to reduce selection bias, we find that selectivity does not have an independent effect on graduation. Instead, we find relatively small positive effects on graduation from attending a college with higher tuition costs. We also find no evidence that students not attending highly selective colleges suffer
reduced chances of graduation, all else being equal.
KEYWORDS: college selectivity, graduation, selection bias, propensity score matching, tuition
What is good learning? That may be a subjective question. But it's likely that many educators would give answers that fall in the same ballpark'sstudents collaborating and discussing ideas, possible solutions project-based learning, designed around real world contexts connecting with other students around the world, on topics of study immersing students in a learning experience that allows them to grapple with a problem, gaining higher-order thinking skills from pursuing the solution
To many educators, these notions are music to their ears. Would it seem terribly strange then to hear that students indeed are doing these things regularly outside of their classrooms? While Timmy or Susie may not be running home from school saying, â€œWhat fun, deeply-engaging learning experience can we do today?, they are engaging with new technologies that provide them with the same opportunities. Every day, many students are spending countless hours immersed in popular technologies such as Facebook or MySpace, World of Warcraft, or Sim City which at first glance may seem like a waste of time, and brain cells. But these genres of technologiesSocial Networking, Digital Gaming, and Simulations deserve a second, deeper, look at what is actually going on.
The time for meaningful transformation in Ontario’s postsecondary system is now. To meet the needs of the emerging
economy, reform must focus on innovation and applied learning that vaults our province ahead of its competition in creating the best-educated, best-prepared workforce in the world. Composed of distinct but equally valued and complementary partners, Ontario’s transformed postsecondary system will ensure that all students can reach their full potential through a broad array of theoretical and applied learning opportunities. Colleges will continue to be student focused, specializing in applied learning that leads to good jobs for graduates, addresses labour market needs and affords access to the broadest possible population. Colleges and universities will offer a range of credentials within their systems and collaborate on a multitude of programs that
offer students the best of both. Expanded pathways will give students the opportunity to customize their post-secondary
experience to match their interests. Online and blended learning, married to leading-edge technology, will enable students
to learn anywhere, anytime, and in ways best suited to their learning styles. Students will be better prepared than ever before to meet the demands of the economy, and they will achieve their goals faster and at less cost.
As video-based instructional materials become available to distance learners to learn practical skills at a distance, it is important to assess the instructional effectiveness of these materials and to understand how students respond to them. This paper is the second part of a larger exploratory study that assessed the instructional effectiveness of video-based instructional materials for teaching distance learners practical skills in block-laying and concreting and how learners respond to these instructional materials. Specifically, this paper aims to assess learners’ acceptance and satisfaction with the materials. It also aims to determine whether levels of learner satisfaction and acceptance differ according to study centres. Data were collected from 71 respondents at three study centres using a self-completion questionnaire comprising 17 Likert-type items. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, ANOVA, and Scheffe’s post hoc test at a 0.05 level of significance. Learners appeared positive about their learning experiences with the use of video-based instructional materials to learn practical skills at a distance as they rated highly all the items assessing their acceptance and satisfaction. Results of item-by-item ANOVA regarding learner acceptance indicated that the respondents, categorized according to study centres, exhibited similar levels of acceptance for nine of the ten items. For learner satisfaction, there were no statistically significant differences for six of the seven items. Thus, learners of different study centres exhibited about the same level of acceptance and satisfaction.
Keywords: Block-laying and concreting; distance learning; learner acceptance; learner satisfaction; technical and vocational education and training (TVET); technology acceptance model (TAM); video-based instructional materials International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning
Vol. 12.5 June – 2011
Assessment of Learner Acceptance and Satisfaction with Video-Based Instructional Materials for Teaching Practical Skills at a Distance
Francis Donkor, University of Education, Winneba, Ghana
Premier McGuinty appointed the Honourable Bob Rae as Advisor to the Premier and the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. With the support of a seven-member Advisory Panel, Mr. Rae was asked to advise on strategies to improve higher education by providing recommendations on: • the design of a publicly funded postsecondary system offering services in both
official languages that promotes: – recognized excellence in curricular activities to build the skilled workforce
and promising scholars of the future; – an integrated and articulated system that meets the diverse learning needs
of Ontarians through the most cost-effective design; • funding model(s) that: – link provincial funding to government objectives for postsecondary education, including the objectives of better workers for better jobs in an innovative economy and an accessible, affordable and quality system;
– establish an appropriate sharing of the costs of postsecondary education among the government, students and the private sector;
– identify an effective student assistance program that promotes increased access to postsecondary education.