Tag Archives | Student Retention

Vernon Smith

The Provost Challenge: Driving Innovation to Enhance Student Engagement and Learning Outcomes

Something about a challenge motivates us. Whether it’s the first transatlantic flight, landing on the moon, or taking on one of numerous YouTube challenges going viral on smartphones everywhere, there is something about challenges that creates energy, creativity, and innovation. Even the U.S. government has harnessed the power of challenges, from using RFID to locate items on the International Space Station, launching payloads into space within a matter of days, or helping to prevent opioid misuse in expectant and new mothers. Challenges with cash prizes are available from various agencies on Challenge.gov, which reports awarding over $250 million in prizes to creative individuals, small business owners and academic researchers.

One of the wonderful aspects of the challenge process is that you don’t have to do the challenge to participate; you can learn from the process itself and even assist in judging entries for which you have expertise and interest. However, if you have a unique approach or an innovative idea, you can join the students, entrepreneurs, technology-inclined, and academic researchers in the challenge to be the first and best.

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Deconstructing Education

Higher Ed: For Students, the Sum of the Parts May Be Greater than the Whole

It’s common knowledge among those of us researching student retention in online higher education that swirling (attendance by a student at multiple institutions) is much more prevalent with online, than on-ground, programs.  Some of the explanations offered include that it’s easier to switch from one online program to another and there’s less social integration among online students so less social stigma in leaving. Others posit that online students are much more savvy about reviewing courses at multiple institutions to enable them to build a richer collection of courses. Lastly, some note that the more frequent semester starts offered by online institutions makes it more conducive for students switching schools to accommodate their personal and work schedules, and to finish their program sooner. 

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International Coaching Week logo

Leading with Coaching Competencies to Inspire Teaching Excellence

This week, May 16-22, 2016, the APUS Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) celebrates International Coaching Week (ICW). According to the International Coach Federation, “ICW educates the public about the value of working with a professional coach and acknowledges the results and progress made through the coaching process.” To this end, American Public University System (APUS) developed a comprehensive coaching and mentoring initiative.

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Nature and Needs of Higher Education

When reading research reports, I have a habit of noting specific citations if they interest me.  Whether I subsequently access the original source depends on how much time I have and whether the topic is relevant to an article or paper that I am writing.   I don’t retrieve older source documents as often as newer ones, since much of my writing involves online learning, a field that is evolving almost as quickly as the technology that supports it changes. 

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Pilot Program Forces Discussion of Online Learning, MOOCs, Student Retention, and the Future of Higher Education

Earlier this week, the California State University System (CSU) announced an online pilot program with Udacity, a for-profit provider of MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses).  Udacity will provide a remedial algebra course, a college level algebra course, and a statistics course as part of the pilot that will initially be limited to 300 students at San Jose State University and several local community colleges. 

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Completing College: Rethinking Institutional Action

Vincent Tinto’s research related to student retention is well known among academicians.  His 1975 paper in the Review of Educational Research creating a theoretical construct of the major factors leading to student retention has been cited in hundreds, if not thousands of papers and publications.  Additionally, Tinto’s sociological construct of the college dropout influenced future researchers toward examining the cause of dropouts instead of blaming the victim. 

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In the clamor for increasing graduation and persistence rates, are we ignoring the student at risk factors and student characteristics?

In the early days of online education, a commonly discussed phenomenon was the low completion rates of students.  Some chose to explain the departure of students using characteristics such as lack of social integration and academic integration for students matriculating in online programs as identified by Vincent Tinto and others.  As technologies utilized in the classroom improved and subsequently, online teaching techniques, student persistence improved as well, but not close to the levels sustained by some of the best face-to-face programs. 

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Online Student Retention

I had the opportunity to present a paper this week at the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education’s (AACE) E-Learn 2010 conference in Orlando along with Dr. Phil Ice, our Director of Course Design, Research & Development.  The paper, Comprehensive Assessment of Student Retention in Online Learning Environments, originated from research that I conducted as part of my doctoral dissertation at The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.

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