Authored by: Amy Archambault
Online courses pose both opportunities and challenges for student retention. Some of the challenges in retaining online students is to keep them engaged and connected with the different learning environment experience. Studies show that “student’s dropout because of:
- Feelings of isolation, frustration and disconnection;
- Failure to make contact with faculty;
- Inadequate contact with students by faculty; and
- Lack of clarity in instructional direction or expectations” (Lehman & Conceicao, 2014)
To better support students, The Center for Transformative Learning recommends that instructors create a welcome announcement prior to the start of each semester. Not only will this allow students to know that they are in the correct course and semester, but also, it will provide a way for the student to be introduced to their instructor and learn expectations.
We recommend the follow components be included in the announcement:
- Current course name and semester. For example, “Welcome to Intro to Business, Fall 2016”
- Brief instructor introduction
- Provide simple orientation to the course; briefly explain what they will find under each menu item
- Provide a link to the course entry assignment and some description of what they are to do. The video (see below) explains how to create an announcement, which includes using the Course Link Feature
By including these items in a welcoming announcement to each course, instructors will be engaging with their students from the very beginning of the semester. It would be the hope that by making this connection, students will feel more engaged and motivated to stay in their online courses.
Lehman, R. M., & Conceicao, S. C. (2014). Motivating and Retaining Online Students. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.