Online Student Retention: Assessing Why Students Stay & Why They Leave
Two of the most widely discussed topics in post-secondary education today are online teaching & learning and student retention & success. In the national dialogue these topics are usually treated separately. However, those institutions that make great use of online delivery have learned often the hard way that increasing the rates of retention and success of online students requires mechanisms and resources grounded in the unique characteristics of the students who gravitate toward distance and technology-mediated course delivery.
In this webinar, we will examine the experiences of University of Maryland University College (UMUC), the largest public university provider of online programs and courses in the United States, in measuring and improving the retention and success rates of its online students. The facilitator will describe UMUCs online activities and student body, and then review some of the findings of the institutions efforts to measure and understand the barriers that can prevent students from persisting in, and successfully complete, online courses and programs. The facilitator will then present a list of possible best practices for online student retention and success, and guide participants through an initial evaluation of their institutions, students, and other factors that affect online student retention. Participants will take away a template that may be of value in conducting a more in-depth review of their campuses prior to the planning and implementation of specific retention and success initiatives.
- Examine the experiences of UMUC in seeking to improve its rates of online student retention and success
- Discuss the primacy of mission in determining satisfactory rates of retention and success and in developing and implementing retention initiatives in a post-secondary institution
- Differentiate retention and success strategies for online versus on-campus students
- Produce a customized template for use in evaluating an institutions online student success and retention environment and in planning initiatives to improve retention and success rates
- 2-year institutions & 4-year institutions
- Vice President Academic Affairs/Instruction
- Dean of Instruction
- Dean of Student Services/Affairs
- Faculty (full and part-time)
- Career Services
- Disabilities Services
- Enrollment Services
- Financial Aid
- Retention Specialist
- Veteran Services
- Developmental Education
- First Year Experience
- Learning Centers
- Online Learning
- Institutional Research Staff
"More and more U.S. post-secondary institutions are measuring, and seeking to improve, rates of student retention and success. Unfortunately, most of the measures and initiatives in use are grounded in the traditional model of post-secondary education, in which young, largely full-time students attend face-to-face classes on campus. Students who pursue courses and programs online, however, tend to have different demographic and educational characteristics, and the institutions that serve them need different measures of, and initiatives to improve, their retention and success."
Dr. Mark L. Parker is Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Director of Professional Writing and of Philosophy, School of Undergraduate Studies, University of Maryland University College. He is responsible for the university's business writing, technical writing, and philosophy courses, including the course content, methods of assessment, and student retention and success. He supervises two teaching cadres totaling more than 150 full- and part-time faculty. Prior to joining the School of Undergraduate Studies Dr. Parker was UMUC's Assistant Provost for Academic Affairs. He has represented UMUC in organizations such as the European Distance Education Network (EDEN), the International Council on Open and Distance Education (ICDE), the Sloan Consortium's Asynchronous Learning Network, and the U.S. Department of Defense's Distance Education Task Force. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Florida State University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. His areas of research interest include intercultural communication; factors affecting online/Web-based communication; English as a second/foreign language; and the interface between visual and verbal literacies.
He has written and presented extensively on such topics as online student retention and the use of technology in adult and continuing higher education; in 2010 he received the University Continuing Education Associations William Rainey Harper Research Award for outstanding contribution to the literature in distance and continuing education. He is the past president of the University of Maryland chapter of the honor society Phi Kappa Phi, and a lifetime member of the society. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Dr. Parker has almost 20 years of experience in higher education administration and teaching. Prior to joining UMUC he worked at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Since January 2011 he has also been serving as the interim Assistant Dean for Communication, Arts, & Humanities in the School of Undergraduate Studies at UMUC, in which capacity he oversees seven bachelors degree programs, a cadre of more than 800 full- and part-time faculty, and annual enrollments of nearly 30,000 of which 80% are fully online.
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1 Training (Live Webinar or On-Demand Training) - $425 Unlimited connections, campus-wide access license to the recording for one year.
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What are the benefits of online training?
Cost-Effective: No travel required. Online Training is an innovative way to provide your entire faculty and staff with a variety of professional development opportunities for one low price! The more you train the more you save, as the registration fee is per institution, not per person.
Easy: You will receive a detailed list of instructions via email. If you run into any problems, we're always here to help.
Practical: Our training sessions focus on the most critical and relevant issues facing educators today. Our primary goal is to provide participants with the information, training, and skills necessary to immediately implement positive change at their institutions.
Top-Notch Presenters: Our presenters are subject matter experts and recognized in their field.
Value Added: When you purchase an online training, you also receive a campus-wide access license to the recording for one year. Faculty and staff can access it as often as they like from any location.
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In-Service Training: Plan an in-service around a live webinar or schedule a day and time to show the recording in a lecture hall or large conference room and invite faculty and staff to brainstorm and discuss implications for your institution.
Online Faculty and Staff Learning Communities: Distribute the recording to faculty and staff so they can watch anytime, anywhere.
Staff Recognition: Develop a program around the webinar with monthly themes and recognize the staff members that implement the best idea related to the theme.
Team-Building: Utilize these trainings to develop cross-functional and cross-discipline teams to foster collegiality.
New Employee Training: Include the online training as part of your new employee training program to ensure consistency.
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