SCMLA: Online and Hybrid Retention

Anna Hall
Distance Ed and Drop Rates: Maintaining Enrollment in Online and Hybrid Classes

Anna is an English Instructor for the Department of Humanities at Blinn College.

Online = lower retention, drop often, grades of those who continue is similar to f2f

Current trend toward holding professors responsible, as faculty assessment.

“develop an online community” is advice, but doesn’t say how to do this
concrete strategies for increasing retention
first to teach hybrid English classes at Blinn

personal strategies, not foolproof
influence retention

2 core approaches = help students keep grades up and make students emotionally attached

How can I increase student retention and still have time to sleep?

Grades up:
May seem too obvious, good grades = students more likely to continue

Students often think online will be easier. Often freshmen, first semester. Don’t understand the difference between college and high school and then are in online classes.
Students need opportunities to make better choices next week.
One of best ways = increase number of formative assessments
Takes lots of time.
Student participation decreased if only did completion grades.

All assignments I think are useful but not imperative—help them master material. I label as extra credit. Fully embedded.
Topic proposal. Used to hate them. Even though people needed them. But would read 100 proposals and 30+ were awful, not thoughtful. But would still feel waste of tiem to respond.
NOW they are all thoughtful, because done by students who want them.
A&B students write first one. C and D students write for the second one (or subsequent ones).

More quizzes and more difficult quizzes, but allow students to take them twice.
Only write self-grading quiz questions.
Possibility of immediate feedback.
Any opportunity for quick turn around is welcome.
Decided to let them take the quizzes a bunch of times. Discovered 3x was too many. Quiz grades dropped. Students believed they would eventually be able to guess correctly.
All students may take quizzes 2x.
Most of the time 2x allows them to improve.
The CMS/LMS randomizes questions.
Even if students do quiz 1x and then go read, they get benefits.

Creates a more accessible class. Learning disabilities find it helps them more than time.
Also helps students with text anxiety.
Saves me time because I have to do less technical support.
Re-takes allow for rigor because I am able to make them harder without students feeling I am tricking them.

Higher grades are not enough to get retention.

“disembodied professor”

“maintain an online presence” suggestion = post frequently
but my students engage more when I don’t

one on one f2f with students early in semester
can do online interviews if needed
online conferences can help people understand how important in world, because common for business
usually do with return of first essay

digital nativism is not necessarily indicative of digital literacy

stronger connection between professor and student = more likely to retain students

only met with online freshmen comp classes (not enough time to do more)
most likely to drop because least likely to understand what they were getting into (both college and online)

also do videos of myself for lectures, etc
record myself including gestures…

when first started, did no videos
students ignored online instructions
exit survey = lack of connection to anybody biggest problem

first videos were awful, I read from the PPTs which were awful and text heavy.
3rd semester I changed a lot. I am far more lively in f2f.
made videos like I teach in f2f
students were watching videos and responding to them

most students, if I can convince them to start, will continue to watch the videos

exit survey = most often “actually”
actually interesting, actually useful

in hybrid classes, if I show a piece of my videos early in class, students are more likely to watch the videos throughout the class

1. only enough ppt words
2. 20 minutes most
3. don’t edit out problems
4. make video just for them, don’t keep them for more than a year
5. be happy—we enjoy talking about this stuff and our students should see this

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