Our Sloan-C Featured Certificate Program Graduate for March 2013 is Katherine Bankole-Medina.
Katherine Olukemi Bankole-Medina is a professor of history at Coppin State University specializing in African American History and African American Studies.
Our Sloan-C Featured Participant for February 2013 is Lori Townsend.
Mobile devices and applications are expected to have a significant impact on teaching and learning in the near future. Yet colleges and universities are currently facing severe budget constraints and discretionary funding is restricted for new initiatives. The question addressed in this paper is: “What strategy should an institution of higher learning with limited resources use in adapting the capabilities of mobile devices to benefit its academic programs?” To help answer this question, students were surveyed to identify their perceptions on the importance of a selected set of mobile learning functions, their experience with using those functions, their recommendation for a mobile learning adoption strategy, and information on the particular mobile devices they possess. The recommended strategy was “pick and choose special capabilities to develop” with the selected functions being (1) Receive alerts and reminders about assignments and appointments concerning the course being taken; (2) Communicate individually with faculty, an advisor, or other students using voice, email, or text messaging; (3) Post or reply to items in a poll, discussion board, or other application; and (4) Download and review lesson materials from a course being taken. Other recommendations included techniques for faculty and student support services as well as institutional policies for limiting models of mobile devices for use in courses, making online courseware for laptops and desktops the same as mobile learning courseware, and making the opportunity for mobile learning optional.
As more colleges add online courses and fully online programs, the need to offer online supports to students becomes more apparent. The connection to an adviser is critical for all students, but for online students it can serve as their primary connection to the institution. In Fall 2011 a pilot study was conducted at the Community College of Vermont (CCV) to examine online advising through a Moodle course site. Although this pilot study represented a small online advising cohort, 56 of the total 155 online students, it illustrates implications for practice and research. The advising cohort showed a slightly higher retention rate than the overall online population. Based on survey results, students reported a strong desire for an adviser who stays with them throughout their educational career at the college. In Fall 2012, CCV institutionalized online advising and began a systematic approach to assisting online students. Five advisers added online students to their work assignments and all CCV advisers were informed of what services CCV would be offering online. When students applied to CCV and selected online (ONL) as a home location, they were contacted via email with an explanation of the online services available to them so that students could make a more informed decision about their home location. In Fall 2012, 286 students selected ONL as their home location and were contacted by staff; 256 students chose to remain online.
Student retention in higher education has become a critical focus in recent years. This paper describes the efforts of Lone Star College-Online and its Online Student Support Services unit to build and implement a comprehensive suite of services for online students with the intention of enhancing the online student experience and ultimately, directly and indirectly, improving student retention rates. It is hoped that others can learn and gain from the shared successes and challenges presented in this paper.
While institutions recognize the need to provide online student support services, the most effective approaches for developing and delivering these services are not always clear. The need to support students inside and outside the online classroom calls for collaborative efforts from many constituencies. The articles in this volume illustrate good practices in providing student-centered service innovations designed to improve academic success and retention.
Our Facilitator of the Month is Chris Thompson. This month he is facilitating Learning Environments: Mobile Apps. In 2012, Chris developed and facilitated Mobile App and Game Development for Sloan-C Institute, one of our first offerings featuring mobile learning.
Our Sloan-C Featured Certificate Program Graduate for February 2013 is Heidi Stevenson.