Student Success Coaching to Support Retention of Online Students

Concurrent Session 3

Brief Abstract

Come learn how to create a proactive, purposeful, and outcomes-based student success coaching program for online students. This model has been deployed at over 15 campuses and has helped to foster strong retention and student satisfaction results. Join us to learn more and share your strategies for success.

Presenters

Dr. Jaimie Hoffman has worked across the higher education landscape for over twenty years. Her expertise includes assessment in higher education, student affairs administration, development of college student leaders, inclusion and equity, and use of technology inside and outside of the classroom for advancing student learning and engagement. Jaimie is currently the Director of Student Affairs and Learning at Noodle Partners (an online program manager) where she works with campuses create support structures for online students. She has served as a full-time faculty member for four years, most recently (from 2015-2017) she was an Assistant Professor of Clinical Education at the University of Southern California (USC) in Rossier’s School of Education. Jaimie also served as an adjunct faculty member at various institutions in the United States. Through her teaching career, Jaimie has taught face-to-face, blended, and online (using synchronous and asynchronous technology) courses on assessment, research, communication, diversity, and organizational leadership to students pursuing bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Prior to her work as a full-time faculty member, Jaimie held various roles in student affairs and information technology. In the area of information technology, Jaimie served as a Teaching and Learning Innovations Specialist at CSU Channel Islands where she provided pedagogical training and support to faculty teaching blended and online courses. Jaimie spent the first 15 years of her career working in, and leading student affairs/services – she worked in, and with the following programmatic areas: assessment and training, new student programs, orientation, leadership programs, residential education, judicial affairs, campus recreation, and career development services. Jaimie received her Ed.D. in Leadership from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and M.Ed. in Higher and Postsecondary Education from Arizona State University. She maintains leadership roles in various professional associations including the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Faculty Council and the International Higher Education teaching and Learning Association (HETL). Julie Sara Boyd is a highly experienced mathematics educator with over eight years of secondary instruction in urban secondary schools. Boyd received her Master’s in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University and a Masters in Secondary Math Education from City College of New York. She has been a professor, mentor, and coach at various schools and organizations in the DC area, including E.L Haynes Public Charter School and Math for America. A member of the AU community since 2011, Boyd is currently the Assistant Dean for Online Programs where she leads the online master’s and doctorate teams in execution of our 3 graduate online programs. She was the former Director of the Office of Teacher Education, where she advised both graduate and undergraduate teacher candidates. As the Director of the Office of Teacher Education, Boyd’s main goal was to create strong school and community partnerships throughout the DC, Maryland and Virginia area for field experiences, including the Service Learning course.
Dustin Ramsdell is a founding member of the ConnectEDU podcast network, a higher ed geek, blogger, and podcaster who has been producing episodes for various shows for over four years. He worked on the Student Affairs Collective podcast, creating over 100 episodes with higher ed professionals. Now he hosts his own show, The Higher Ed Geek Podcast, where he explores the intersections of our passions and strengths with his various guests. Dustin also currently works as a Sr. Student Affairs Lead at Noodle Partners, where he helps enable universities to develop their digital education programs. He loves craft beer, good pizza, and sustainability. Dustin lives happily in Baltimore, MD with his wife, Jenn, and their dog, Chelsea.
Julie Sara Boyd is a highly experienced mathematics educator with over eight years of secondary instruction in urban secondary schools. Boyd received her Master’s in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University and a Masters in Secondary Math Education from City College of New York. She has been a professor, mentor, and coach at various schools and organizations in the DC area, including E.L Haynes Public Charter School and Math for America. A member of the AU community since 2011, Boyd is currently the Assistant Dean for Academic Administration where she leads the online master’s and doctorate teams in execution of our 3 graduate online programs. She was the former Director of the Office of Teacher Education, where she advised both graduate and undergraduate teacher candidates and created strong school and community partnerships throughout the DC, Maryland and Virginia area for field experiences.

Extended Abstract

The presenters of this session represent two different perspectives to a success coach program that has demonstrated achievement of outcomes; two presenters created the coaching program which has been implemented at over 15 universities nationwide through their work in an online program management company and one serves in a leadership position at a campus that brought on this coaching program.  The session will introduce the perspectives of the presenters and share the needs of online learners. Following this, the majority of session will review the key elements of a proactive success coaching program including: the ideal ratio of number of student to coaches (including strategies for establishing this on each campus), what a proactive communication cadence (frequency and modality) should look like, how to track and report on communication to draw meaningful insights, what kind of triggers (e.g. missing class or an assignment) should be monitored to understand potential at-risk variables, and most importantly, how to measure the success and monitor the quality of the program.  We will present the outcomes achieved through this program across our campuses

 

References and resources

Few would argue that online learning is transforming the higher education landscape and the student experience of college students across the nation. While enrollment in higher education may be decreasing, students are enrolling in online courses at an increasing rate: in fact, as of 2015, almost 30% (29.7%) of students in higher education are taking at least one distance course and among the 30%, 14.3% are taking all courses at a distance. Growth is seen across the board in private for-profit AND public and private not-for-profit institutions have grown their distance learning enrollments (Allen & Seaman, 2017). Understanding this population is paramount for fulfilling our duty of meeting the needs of all students.

 

The dropout rates of online students vary - some found as few as 15% of students drop out, some researchers found as many as 50-70% of online students dropout (Hobbs, 2004; Tallent-Runnels et al., 2006). Various reasons for dropout have become known including feeling isolated and disconnected, having technology-related issues, lack of connectivity with and instructional direction from faculty, loss of focus and motivation, and lack of social interaction with peers (Lehman & Conceicao, 2014).

 

One key strategy for retaining online students is ensuring they feel connected and supported through proactive (sometimes called intrusive) success coaching. This kind of support is beyond the scope of what is typically offered to on ground students who usually have the ability to drop into an office to receive support elsewhere when visiting campus  or can more easily connect with their faculty members or peers during a face-to-face class (Bettinger, Fox, Loeb, Taylor, E. S, 2017; Boerner, 2015; Cannon, 2013).

 

References

  • Allen, E. and Seaman, J. (2017). Digital Learning Compass: Distance Education Enrollment Report 2017. Digital Learning Compass. Babson Survey Research Group, e-Literate, WCET.

  • Conceico, S.C.O. and Lehman, R.M. (2012, November). Motivation and support strategies for online adult learners in the 21st century. American Association for Adult and Continuing Education. Las Vegas, NV.

  • Hobbs, V. (2004). The promise and power of online learning in rural education. Arlington. VA: Rural School and Community Trust.

  • Lehman, R. M., & Conceicao, S. C. O. (2014). Motivating and Retaining Online Students: Research-Based Strategies That Work. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

  • Rovai, A.P. (2003). In search of higher persistence rates in distance education online programs. Internet & Higher Education, 6(1), 1-6.

  • Tallent-Runnels, M.K., Thomas, J.A., Lan, W.Y., Cooper, S. Ahern, T.C., Shaw, S.M. & Liu, X. (2006). Teaching courses online. A review of the research.  Research of Educational Research, 76(1).

  • Bettinger, E. P., Fox, L., Loeb, S., & Taylor, E. S. (September 01, 2017). Virtual Classrooms: How Online College Courses Affect Student Success. American Economic Review, 107, 9, 2855-2875.

  • Boerner, H. (August 01, 2015). Predicting Success: How Predictive Analytics Are Transforming Student Support and Success Programs. Community College Journal, 86, 1, 14-18.

  • Cannon, J. (2013, March). Intrusive advising 101: How to be intrusive without intruding. Academic Advising Today, 36(1). Retrieved from http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Academic-Advising-Today/View-Articles/Intrusive-Advising-101-How-to-be-Intrusive-Without-Intruding.aspx

 

Program Goals & Outcomes (100 words)

As a result of attending this program, attendees will be able to

  • Summarize key considerations for designing a success coach program including student to coach ratio, creating a proactive outreach cadence and monitoring at-risk triggers

  • Describe what kind of triggers should be monitored to flag potential at-risk behaviors and subsequent follow-up

  • Discuss how to measure the success of a success coaching program

 

Methods for participant involvement:  

Opportunities will be woven throughout to invite audience to ask questions or comment. Attendees will also be invited to participate and contribute ideas to an online tool in the event that they do not feel comfortable doing so in person. Further time will be reserved at the end of the session for a pair-share and audience sharing of strategies for success they have implemented.

Outline of Session

Presentation agenda

  • Introductions

  • Overview of online learner needs

  • Program design

    1. Ratio

    2. Proactive outreach cadence

    3. Tracking communication

    4. Monitoring at risk triggers

    5. Measures of success (KPIs)

      • Evidence of success of the program we implemented

  • Audience strategy sharing