Preventing a Student Retention Crisis This Fall

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. Rebecca Glazier, Associate Professor at University of Arkansas at Little Rock joined the podcast to talk about being prepared for a potential student retention crisis this fall with so many “new” online students, and what we can do to prevent it.

When students get into those onlineclassrooms, they find that it can be really difficult to succeed there whenthey don't have the structure of a face. o face, classroom, you're, listening to enrollment growth,university from Helik Education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in Romant at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh andromant growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources. You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to Enroman ProthUniversity, a proud member of the connect Evu podcast network, I'm EricWilson with helics education and we're here today with Doctor Rebecca Glazier,associate professor at University of Arkansas at Little Rock Rebeccawelcomed to the show. Thank you so much it's. My pleasure really excited atoxisy today about being prepared for a...

...potential student retention crisis,this fall and what we can do to prevent it before we dick into that. Can youget the listeners a little bit better understanding of both University ofArkansas Little Rock and your role? There sure I am a professor ofpolitical science and the university is a Metropolitan University in ourcapital city and Little Rock, and we have a lot of really fantastic studentswho come from diverse backgrounds, pretty much as diverseas you caldimagine it. We have students who aure first generation students about eightypercent of our students are first Gen. we have students from all differentkinds of ethnic and racial, all different kinds of age backgrounds andfinancial backgrounds. So we have a really fantastic, diverse studentpopulation right in the heart of our city and Little Rock, and a lot of themtake online classes. We have about sixty percent of our students who takeonline classes at least one online class, and so I have the opportunity oteach one online class each semester...

...and of course, the spring. I had theopportunity to transition all of my classes online very quickly and I'vebeen researching online education for the past eleven years and have seen thedifference that it can make when you connect with students in the onlineclass, and so that's really. What I want to emphasize today is that value,because I've seen what a difference it can make for my own students. Yes, yourexpertise and your institutions. Depth and online- are really needed right now.For this conversation, because across high red, we worked so hard to helpstudents be able to continue with their education. This fall but you're nervousabout our ability to effectively keep them engaged if they stay with us,especially if they're a new online student, absolutely because teaching andlearning online is really challenging, and when students get into those onlineclassrooms, they find that it can be really difficult to succeed there whenthey don't have the structure of a face...

...of face classroom and especially whenthey don't have that human connection of seeing their professor and of seeingtheir classmates and if they are taking a class. That's completely asynchroniss,where they don't have a schedule of meeting time and whether', not seeingpeople and having conversations with them and making eye contact. It can beeasy to forget about those online classes, especially with everythingelse. That's going on in their lives and what's going on in the world, andthose can fall to the bottom of their priority lists and we have seen in theliterature that students are much more likely to drop and to fail those onlineclasses yeah. Let's dig into that, because can you remind us of the onlinestudent retention rate issues that existed prepandemic even for thosestudents who actively chose online as their preferred learning modality? Absolutely. This is not new informationfor people who study online teaching and learning. We know that the onlineretention rates are consistently...

...anywhere from five to thirty year, evenforty percent lower than the in class for tension rates, and we have seenthis for years and what we know is that the more online classes, a studenttakes theu less likely they are to be retained. So we see from one class toanother comparing the exact same class from in person to face to face, even ifit's top of the exact same professor, lower retention rates in online classes,and we see that the same student when they take a higher percentage of theirclasses online are less likely to be retained. So for my own studentpopulation, we have a lot of students, as I mentioned, who maybe have familiesor not traditional students or of first generation students, maybe they'reworking full time. They have a lot going on in their lives. If thosestudents take one or two online classes, that can actually be really helpful forthem, because it adds a little bit of flexibility. You know they can pick upa couple extra shifts or maybe, if...

...they're a student athlete they can fitand practice it helps their lives, then fit in everything that they have goingon in their lives. But we do see in the literature that there's a tipping pointaround about forty percent of course load. Where students take more thanforty percent of their courseload online. you start to see a precipitousdecline in their attention rates, so among my own students at my ownuniversity students who take all of their classes online, are about twentypercent less likely to be retained than students who are taking only one or twoclasses online, so you've helped remind us of the depressing data. What doesthe retention data say positively about our faculties potential role in dropoutprevention? Yeah? These numbers can be a little bit discouraging, but there isgood news that he had here, because what we really do see in the data isthat faculty can place. Such a keyrole here faculty make more of a differencein student success than anything else...

...that we can point to so more than anytechnology or program or initiative that universities have tried it'sstudents having a good relationship with their professors that help themsucceed in their classes. So I can tell you this from personal experience,because when I was a brand new faculty member teaching online for the firsttime I looked at my online introduction to political science class and Icompared it to my face to face introduction to political science class,and I saw that thirteen percent more of my students were failing and droppingout, and I was horrified yeah, but when I made a concertive effort to connectwith my students to really make those real human connections withthem to build relationships with them. I completely close that retention gapand that's what we have seen in the data through experimental researchthrough multi year, experimental...

...studies that professors can make thatdifference yeah. So, let's dig into some of thoseintervention options. What are some of the different, very practical, tangibleways faculty can work to create that same kind of student report andrelationship online and hopefully help avoid this retention crisis yeah. So this comes really easily to us.Almost naturally, when we're in person with students we smile, we use bodylanguage, we make eye contact, we easily chat with students before afterclass. We say hi to them when we're walking around campus. It's really easyto build those relationships and to build that report with students whenwe're teaching face to face, but we don't have those kind of casualinteractions when we are in our online classes. So we have to be much moreintentional about creating those opportunities for connection when we'reteaching online classes, and that can...

...be it takes more thought and it takesmore intentionality and it can be tricky. But there are lots of smartprofessors out in the world who are coming up with ways to do this. So oneexample is Michelle: Pakansky Brock, who talks about humanizing, and this isreally about helping our students, see us as professors as real people andhelping us see our students as real people as well. So we get to know eachother as people who have interests and ideas and lives beyond just our classes.So one thing that I like to do in my classes is to send a survey before theclass even starts to ask students if they have maybe a nickname that theyprefer to go by to ask them about preferred pronouns that they might liketo use and to also ask them stuff. Like you know, what are You ben watching onNetflix right now or any pets that you might have or any challenges that youhave going on in your lives right now,...

...but my make it difficult for you to dowell this semester and once we know those things about our students, we canconnect with them better during thes semester. We can reach out to them thatthey're, struggling and say hey. I know you mentioned that you had a lot goingon at work. Is Everything? Okay, do you need an extension on this steadline, orI know you mentioned that your you know mom was having chemo therapy, I hopeshe's doing all right and when we show a little bit extra care and concernedabout our students as real people, they want to stay engaged in our class andthey want to work harder and they want to do well and we'll see much greaterstudent success when we show that caring in that human connection, I love that idea of being intentionalto recreate the little things that may happen organically, an in person thatwon't online really good, tough, rebecca any final next EPS advice forinstitutions looking to keep these new...

...online students engaged. This fall yeahit's going to be tricky and I think putting a little bit of thought into.It is definitely worth it on the front end. I think knowledge is power forboth students and for faculty. So I think it's worth it for institutions totalk with these new online students and give them as much information as theycan to tell them the challenges that come with online classes and toencourage them to connect with their faculty to attend their virtual officehours, and I think it's really important for faculty to receivetraining in the importance of connecting with their online students.So many institutions, I've, seen focus on technology they're trained on. Youknow how to use zoom and how to record videos and how to navigate blackboardand how to upload the latest tool and...

...module, but they're not trained onPedagog, and when we talk to students in the research that I have done,students don't care about the bels and whistles of online class. That's notwhat matters to them! That's not what is going to help them succeed. Whatstudents care about is that relationship with their professor? Theycare about having an instructor in their class, who cares about them andwho wants them to succeed and who is there for them? Who will be responsiveto their questions? Who will reply to their email? Who will help them whenthey need help, and if we can be that for our students, if we can know justhow important it is to them for us to be responsive and to be a real humanand to be there for them? I think that will make a huge difference. So ifinstitutions can prioritize that pedagogical training for online classesover technology, I think they'll be way ahead of the game. Rebecca suchwonderful advice thanks so much for...

...your time today. What's the best placefor listeners to connect with you if they have any followup questions, Iwould love to answer followp questions. The email would be great, I'm at ART, aGlasier Gla Z, I er at UALR Dtedu, and I'm also on twitter at Rebecca Glacierawesome thanks, againg, so much for joining us today. REBEA. Thank you somuch and I actually am really excited to announce. Just this morning I signeda book contract with Johns Hopkins University Press to write a book aboutthe imporance of connecting the H students and building report and ollineclassrooms. So, looking forward to that coming in two thousand and twenty onehuge congratulations is there a title also that we can look for when it's out?Yes, the title is connecting in the online classroom, teachers, studentsand building raport and online learning, really looking forward to that thanksto gaing Rebecca. Thank you. It's fun a pleasure attracting today's new post,traditional learners means adopting new...

...enrolmant strategies. helics educationsdata driven enterprise, wide approach to enrolment growth is uniquely helpingcolleges and universities thrive in this new education, landscape and telexhas just published the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook,with fifty percent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's mostpressing, enrolment growth challenges download it today for free at Heloks,Educationcom playbook you've been listening to enrolmentgrowth university from helaks education to ensure that you never miss anepisode subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thankyou so much for listening until next time.

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