Greetings, MCCC online and blended instructors:
As some of you may already know, the withdrawal rate for MCCC online courses runs nearly 6% higher on average when compared to the traditional on-ground course withdrawal rate. There are several possible reasons for the higher withdrawal rate in online courses, such as: change in work or home situation, the online format didn’t suit the students’ learning style, the students didn’t have the necessary skill set for online coursework, etc. Some of these factors are obviously beyond our control; however, some of the factors could be positively influenced by course design and instructional approach. To this end, I recommend the following:
- Ensure that your online course is clearly
organized and easy to navigate. (eLearning tips: Ask a colleague to look at
your course from a new student perspective to see if it is intuitively
organized. Limit the number of links on your Course Menu to 10 and arrange them
in alphabetical order)
- Clearly communicate your overall course objectives and individual assignment, assessment and lecture unit learning objectives so that students clearly understand where they need to focus. (eLearning tips: List overall course objectives on syllabus and individual assignment, assessment and lecture unit learning objectives within the instructions for each).
- Help online students feel connected, as opposed to solitary, by using the discussion board to facilitate instructor-student and student-student discussions (eLearning tips: Create a “self-introductions” forum and ask your students to introduce themselves to their classmates. Host weekly discussions on the vital topics of your course).
- Identify those students that lack the skills, motivation, etc. early on in your course and intervene by encouraging them to contact the eLearning office for additional assistance.
If you are interested in implementing some of the recommendations above but need assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Also, if you have other recommendations that may help with this issue, I welcome your input.
Have a wonderful semester,