Ensuring student success in online courses

Posted on June 23rd, 2016

Online classes are popular due to their flexibility and convenience, however, it has been found that online classes have a higher dropout rate than traditional face-to-face classes. This article looks at strategies and techniques that instructors can use to support students in online courses.

  • Course organization and layout: Provide a simple and consistent layout and navigation for all modules. Explain the structure and layout of the course with a “course tour” video.
  • Clearly communicate expectations: Deliver detailed and explicit instructions about the course format, assignments, grading criteria, etc. A frequently asked questions section may also be helpful for students.
  • Prepare students: Develop an orientation for students with tips that will help them succeed. Discuss items such as technical skills, study skills, and resources.
  • Chunk the content and scaffold instruction: Organize the content into modules or units to make it easier and more manageable for students to understand and remember concepts.
  • Humanize the course: Set a warm, welcoming tone at the beginning of the course and encourage peer-to-peer support and group work. Humanize the online experience through personal interactions and stories.