On-Demand Learner Supports: Where And When They Are Needed

Concurrent Session 1
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Brief Abstract

SupportU is a menu of online complementary services to augment the regular curriculum and instruction. It includes 24/7 Tutoring on Demand in writing, library, and key subject-matter areas, as well as paper reviews by writing tutors who return the papers within 24 hours and an automated instant paper review tool. Learn how Bridgepoint Education improved retention through these innovative approaches.

Presenters

Dr. Mindy Sloan is Associate Vice President, Student Success at Zovio. Included in her responsibilities are the Learning Services Writing Center, Ashford University Library Services, and University of the Rockies Library. Before joining Ashford University, she was Director, Planning & Effectiveness with Bridgepoint Education. Mindy has been Assessment and Evaluation Coordinator, Associate Dean, and Professor at Brandman University (Chapman University College), part of the Chapman University System. She joined the College of Education, Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Sloan is a lead reviewer for the Council for Exceptional Children and has conducted site visits for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges. She holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Educational and Counseling Psychology from the University of Kentucky, a B.S. from the University of Illinois, and B.F.A. from Northern Illinois University. She is a credentialed School Psychologist and licensed Clinical Psychologist.

Extended Abstract

Today’s learners balance competing priorities while pursuing their educational goals. Whether working a full-time job and raising children alone, completing missions while deployed in a far distant land, or finding a second career because one was let go after many years of stable employment, traditional models of delivery must be revised for higher education to be reachable. Educational innovations rooted in sound best practices must be tested, revised, improved, and applied at scale so that they are accessible where and when learners need them. SupportU is a menu of online complementary services to augment the regular curriculum and instruction. It includes 24/7 Tutoring on Demand in writing, library, and key subject-matter areas, as well as paper reviews by writing tutors who return the papers within 24 hours and an automated instant paper review tool.  Learners who use these supports are more likely to pass courses, earn higher course points, and persist throughout their programs. They are also less likely to drop their courses. Further results indicate that engaging all learners requires significant insights into their perceptions and preferences, followed with effective responses. For example, while there is a proportionally equivalent use of paper review tools by male and female students, female students are much more likely than male students to reach out for 24/7 Tutoring On Demand. 

AskAshford is an online knowledge base that provides immediate answers to some of the most frequently asked learner questions. It has significantly reduced the number of contacts with Live Chat, thus freeing staff to provide students with personalized responses to more complex questions. A public facing writing center website is full of robust content to meet the needs of all learners, and yet specifically designed with the Ashford University student in mind.

Any learner, and particularly today’s learners, may wonder if higher education is really an option. Even after starting, many will want to give up. SupportU is a commitment to these students, and to providing solutions where and when they are needed. Our hope is that each learner will find the help that s/he needs, and just keep going.