OTL201 – Post 5

In this post we are asked, although in a slightly different order, to:

  • list the 2-3 most important concepts that have impacted your thoughts on student engagement and retention during this course;
  • post questions with respect to student engagement and retention and also a strategy for finding the answers;
  • discuss our rationale for implementing the above course facilitation strategies to increase student retention and engagement; and
  • identify 2-3 specific goals that you would like to achieve in light of what you have learned about social presence and creating effective educational media.

From post 2, I sense that the most important factor that enhances student engagement, beyond the student’s on self-motivation, is developing a personal connection with the student. The connections give students a sense that they are individuals and are respected. Related to this, and most important in on-line courses, is the use of audio visual media to help make connections with students. As discussed in this course, technology hasn’t tended to increase learning. However, the newer technologies can be used to make the on-line teachers real to students, hopefully increasing their engagement and retention.

The question that begs asking is the extent that student engagement, retention and success in a course can be increased by increasing the personal connection with their instructor. The answers to these questions could be investigated by comparing student engagement, retention and success in historical courses with the same course (and same instructor) that has been modified to include enhanced connections between the instructor and students in the course. Enhanced connections can be achieved by increasing communications with students and by including introductory faculty videos and using tools such as Blackboard Collaborate with full video to a greater extent. Student retention and success can be taken from OL’s records. A survey would be used to evaluate student engagement.

Increasing student engagement and retention is desirable and helps everyone; the student, faculty and OL Administration. Students benefit by completing their studies quickly and with higher success. Faculty would have a better sense of accomplishment and would make more money. Administration would be providing a product that would be attractive to other potential students.

Although the above study hasn’t be carried out at TRU I expect that increasing connections with students likely increases their engagement, retention and success in a course. Thus, my goal will be to enhance my connections with the students in the courses that I’m involved with.  In part, this will be accomplished by developing an introductory video of myself.

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