The C.A.R.E. Model: Reconstructing the Online Learning Experience through Individualized Student Success Coaching

Concurrent Session 3

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Representatives at Western Kentucky University have developed the Coaching for Academic Readiness & Excellence (C.A.R.E.) program to provide digitally accessible alternatives for student support. This session will explore the role success coaching plays in bridging the gap between those services offered to on-campus students and those learning at a distance.

Additional Authors

As an instructional designer with Western Kentucky University's Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, Catie collaborates with University faculty, providing consultation in the application of instructional design and the use of instructional technology tools to deliver instruction through a variety of learning modalities. Along with her CITL colleagues, Catie offers recommendations for interface design, sequencing of instruction, use of assessments, and design of course materials and activities which promote student engagement in the online learning environment.

Extended Abstract

 As non-traditional learners continue to redefine the face of higher education, it becomes increasingly important to provide digitally accessible alternatives for instruction and student support. In response to this need, Western Kentucky University’s Online and On Demand programs have adopted the C.A.R.E. (Coaching for Academic Readiness & Excellence) model in an effort to bridge the gap between those services offered to on-campus students and those learning at a distance. This session will explore the various avenues through which the program builds relationships with students and guides them through their academic experience.

Upon attending this session, participants should be able to:

  • Reflect on the student support services currently offered to distance learners at their respective institutions
  • Collaborate with peers to brainstorm about potential implications of the implementation of a student success coaching program
  • Confidently share insight regarding innovative approaches and prospective outcomes related to the achievement of student success amongst various learner populations
  • Think critically about ways WKU’s C.A.R.E. model can be adapted to meet the needs of current and prospective distance learners at their institutions

Topics covered in this session will include:

  • A snapshot of WKU’s distance learner population
  • Using results from the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) to identify students’ strengths and weaknesses and create a personalized learning plan
  • Guidelines for relationship building in academic coaching
  • Content and context of communication points
  • Using an LMS (Blackboard) organization to connect students to instructional resources and foster peer to peer communication
  • Using Starfish Retention Solutions to track student progress and record coaching activities
  • Serving as a liaison for students and other on-campus departments
  • Implications of formative assessment in student success coaching

Instructional materials presented and/or provided to attendees will include:

  • Descriptive slides conveying presentation’s content
  • Link to WKU’s online Student Resource Portal
  • Visual representation of C.A.R.E. Blackboard organization
  • Visual representation of coaching activities and student progress markers displayed in Starfish

In addition to the aforementioned instructional materials, the inclusion of interactive application questions following a brief presentation of the content will prompt active participant engagement and collaboration. Following this activity, an open discussion will be hosted to encourage participants to share how they feel the presentation’s contents may be applied to their own institutions’ student support efforts; questions will be welcomed.

Overarching purpose:

In the past, many non-academic responsibilities (i.e., advising and technical support) have fallen on faculty members. However, on most campuses, this approach is no longer adequate for meeting the needs of the ever-growing distance learner population. The purpose of this presentation is not to convey that WKU’s C.A.R.E. model is all-inclusive. We understand there are a variety of factors, including budgeting and staffing constraints, which dictate the time and effort institutions are able to devote to servicing distance learners. Rather, the aim of this session is to encourage participants to consider the possibilities of administrative intervention in the form of student-centered success coaching. Our hope is that by sharing professional insight drawn from the experiences of our institution, we will inspire attendees to formulate ideas regarding what needs to change at their own institutions to construct a conducive e-learning environment that yields those same services and opportunities offered to traditional students.