In higher education, one important metric for measuring the effectiveness of programs is student retention. Retention measures the number of students a school has been able to keep in its programs, while attrition measures the number of students who have left either voluntarily or involuntarily. Another important word for this field is persistence, and this is meant as a student measurement. While retention and persistence may seem to measure the same criteria, a distinction is based on the measures taken. For example, a school may have retention programs in place; whereas helping students succeed in their programs strengthens their ability to persist and continue to progress.
The higher education sector
The higher education sector in which, the most experience you can gain from -a profit online college, with roles ranging from online educator to faculty development specialist, chief academic officer, and dean. Retention rates of 50% or less are typical for this industry. Retention initiatives that have been implemented in many schools have included changing feedback requirements and assessment requirements. The curriculum itself makes it easier for students to progress through the classroom. While these initiatives may provide some help to the bottom line, they have little impact on the student experience. What is most important for students is their ability to persist and be successful in their efforts to engage in the learning process. Is there a secret to student success? It has to do with the support and resources students receive from the school and their instructors.
Growth of the Non-Traditional Student
The phrase “non-traditional student” became popular, and we’ve watched it become prominent now – especially with regard to how courses and curricula are designed for students. The essence of this phrase is intended to describe new types of students. Other than those entering college straight out of high school, who are enrolling in college-level courses and programs. This is one of the important factors that have led to the growth of the online college industry. It’s not uncommon to see online programs offered to so-called “working adults’ with promises that the degrees earned will help them advance in their chosen careers.
In general, a non-traditional student can be a mixture of someone who is older or belongs to a minority group. They can speak English as a second language, goes to school part-time and has previous life experiences. For these students, their schoolwork is not their sole responsibility. This can present regular time management challenges for them. Moreover, due to life experience, these students cannot be treated as blank slates, someone waiting for the release of knowledge.
The role of the educator
Within traditional colleges and universities, the role of the pedagogue has remained almost unchanged. This means they are at the front of the class and the centre of attention during every scheduled session. It is a teacher-centred teaching approach used in primary education. This educator usually gives a lecture and students are expected to study for quizzes and exams. In contrast, the educator who teaches online courses finds that their role is evolving. The very nature of the virtual learning environment puts the primary responsibility for learning on the students.
Counsellor vs. Success initiatives
Traditionally, responsibility for working with students has been part of the academic advisor role. An advisor is someone who can help students with a wide variety of tasks that include registration, enrollment, course selection, and the list goes on. This was often a reactive role, meaning that the advisor could address a wide range of questions, but only at the initiative of the students. Within the for-profit online college industry, I have seen the advisor role evolve to include the responsibility of conducting follow-ups for those students who were at risk of failing and/or dropping out.
There is a newer nonprofit online school that is hiring mentors to fill in for faculty. Students do not have regular classes and instead study to do assessments – usually with very low or minimum passing scores. This is similar to the correspondence courses that preceded the online for-profit industry. There is no clear evidence yet to confirm that someone calling students every week with no specific course knowledge, or higher education experience has an impact on student retention rates.
How to promote student success as an educator
Students need an instructor and just as importantly, they need ongoing support. This statement goes against the basic concept of a massive open online course or MOOC; the educator serves as the front line to help implement the retention strategies the school has put in place. It is able to work with students to help them persist or succeed. This is where the secret to student success can be found and it is in the relationship that is established with the students. There is an instructor