First Term Success Course for All
Concurrent Session 1
Every online program aims to engage new students early and often, creating a learning community that connects students to their new institution and increases their persistence and academic success. What if doing so were done with an intention to engage students throughout their life cycle as opposed to focusing solely on their transition into the university? LMS course sites can be a promising and dynamic solution to help students build community and find success long-term.
Engaging newly enrolled students beyond required orientation and registration steps seems to be a lofty goal. But Oregon State Ecampus has successfully done exactly that with its First Term Success Course designed to foster a community of online learning for newly enrolled students.
The First Term Success Course is a free, non-credit bearing course that delivers an academic success curriculum to each term’s cohort of students who are new to online learning at Oregon State. Enrollment in this course is invitation based (the nature of a non-credit Canvas course site), nevertheless, at Oregon State, we consistently engage 96% of all new online students each term.
The course model includes a weekly overview of just-in-time success strategies, a framework for organizing first-term deadlines, due dates, and virtual campus events, as well as an active discussion board for both student-to-student and student-to-success counselor interaction. Scaffolded content allows students to personalize their learning by choosing to gain high-level understanding of each topic or dive deeper into effective practices that can be applied to individual academic success plans.
Course evaluations reflect student improvement across a number of metrics including confidence and knowledge indicators evaluated through student self-report measures as well as performance (GPA, persistence, etc.) indicators. Course analytics have allowed us to peek into student engagement patterns, providing insight that helps us align topics with the greatest student need across the academic life cycle. One of the most valuable and rewarding features in First Term Success course is its discussion forum which opens prior to the start of a term and hosts some the most lively student-to-student interactions. Truly, this student-focused experience is creating a genuine and active community of learners.
In this Discovery Session, we will share a live, sample course site for colleagues to explore. Through interactive discussion with participants, we will share our trials, errors, and successes across all phases of course development; evaluation of student success metrics during the initial 2 years; and exciting re-developments designed to increase student engagement and extend support beyond the first term.