High Touch in a High Tech Classroom: The Impact of Virtual Student Study Hours

Streamed Session Research

Brief Abstract

First-year online students are at risk for dropping out. How might a free, optional virtual study hall support and engage students? Would this ultimately impact their persistence? This session shares student perceptions of how a virtual study hall impacted persistence as a first-year student.

Extended Abstract

The problem: High-tech learning with minimal contact with individuals.

The need: Connect with a real, live person to achieve course objectives.

If your institution experiences retention challenges and your students need more contact with people, you have come to the right place! This session explores student retention, persistence, and the perceived success of first-year students by providing a virtual study hall. Student retention and persistence is a priority for institutions of higher education and challenges exist for first-year online students. To meet some of these challenges, faculty for one entry-point course offered a free, optional study hall for their course to support and engage students throughout a five-week course. Research was conducted to better understand the impact this practice had on students' perceived success. Findings and recommendations from the research is provided in the session.

Through the presentation, professionals will reflect on the impact of interactions and experiences in relation to student retention, persistence, and success. By the end of the session, individuals will formulate a hypothetical virtual event that builds community and personal interactions in their own context.

Expect to be an active learner! Attendees will interact through reflection, brainstorming, and an idea share.

Participants in this session will:

  • Identify a need within their institution.
  • Devise a virtual 'support' event that builds community and connections.
  • Apply recommendations to the hypothetical virtual event.