About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5042-5050
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.2131

Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain

BOOSTING STUDENT LIFE SATISFACTION AND ENGAGEMENT TO IMPROVE ONLINE STUDENT RETENTION

H. Slavensky, H.J. Hansen, M.B. Knudsen

Aarhus University (DENMARK)
In 2015, the Electronics Engineering degree programme at Aarhus University School of Engineering in Herning decided to offer an online learning option concurrently with providing traditional classroom instruction. Following this initiative, the student intake increased significantly, primarily because the programme appealed to a completely new target audience. With the online opportunity, it was decided to implement the ‘flipped classroom’ approach into both online and on-campus teaching, meaning that online students were able to join the classroom teaching synchronously and asynchronously. Moreover, Insights Discovery Personal Profiles were introduced, and based on their profiles, the students were divided into online/on-campus teams with all colour energies represented in each team (blue, red, green and yellow). In addition, the students’ practical skills were taken into account, making sure that at least one person in the team had vocational training. To enable online students to communicate with each other and the lecturers, an e-learning platform via Adobe Connect was established. At semester start, the online students attended an introduction course, where they were introduced to the learning platform and could meet their fellow students. However, despite these initiatives, a high dropout rate of online students enrolled in the study programme in 2015 was observed.

Personal conversations with the programme mentor have shown that one of the factors influencing the online students’ decisions to drop out is their full-time job; having a full-time job while studying full time is very time-consuming. Another reason for the student dropout is a feeling of disconnection with their fellow students and the campus environment. Consequently, various strategies to motivate and retain the students were implemented with the 2016 intake. Potential online students were invited to a clarifying conversation, where it was specified how many hours a week the student is expected to study. Here, the issue of the work-family balance was also addressed. This ‘screening’ has certainly made it clear to the students what is expected of them. In addition, we have seen a decrease in students with full-time jobs who, thus, are able to join the teaching synchronously, engaging them much more directly. This, combined with a new strategy of mixing online and on-campus students in teams, has boosted the student life satisfaction significantly and improved the online students’ interaction with on-campus students. Today, online students take much more responsibility, as they also want the on-campus students to be successful. Conversely, on-campus students now feel more responsible in that they must ensure that the online students do not feel isolated, e.g. by providing them with information and electronic devices that they need to complete a project at home or via the mobile kit ‘Lab-in-a-box’.

Since September 2015, 14 out of 17 online students have dropped out the study programme, i.e. a dropout rate of 82%. Compared to this, the drop-out-rate of the online students enrolled in September 2016 with the implemented new strategy, is reduced to 43% (10 out of 23).
@InProceedings{SLAVENSKY2017BOO,
author = {Slavensky, H. and Hansen, H.J. and Knudsen, M.B.},
title = {BOOSTING STUDENT LIFE SATISFACTION AND ENGAGEMENT TO IMPROVE ONLINE STUDENT RETENTION},
series = {9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN17 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-3777-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2017.2131},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2017.2131},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {3-5 July, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {5042-5050}}
TY - CONF
AU - H. Slavensky AU - H.J. Hansen AU - M.B. Knudsen
TI - BOOSTING STUDENT LIFE SATISFACTION AND ENGAGEMENT TO IMPROVE ONLINE STUDENT RETENTION
SN - 978-84-697-3777-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2017.2131
PY - 2017
Y1 - 3-5 July, 2017
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN17 Proceedings
SP - 5042
EP - 5050
ER -
H. Slavensky, H.J. Hansen, M.B. Knudsen (2017) BOOSTING STUDENT LIFE SATISFACTION AND ENGAGEMENT TO IMPROVE ONLINE STUDENT RETENTION, EDULEARN17 Proceedings, pp. 5042-5050.
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