Obtaining high retention and completion rates in a New Zealand ODL environment: A case study of strategies employed by Information and Library Studies faculty at the Open Polytechnic.

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Authors
Maathuis-Smith, S.
Wellington, S.
Cossham, A.F.
Fields, A.
Irvine, J.
Welland, S.
Innes, M.
Issue Date
2011
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Journal Article
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Retention and completion in education , Distance learning , Student success
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Abstract
Open and distance learning (ODL) provides unique challenges for student retention and course completion. In an increasingly competitive educational environment, measures such as retention and completion form the basis for the evaluation of institutional and student performance. Information and Library Studies (ILS) faculty at the Open Polytechnic achieve and maintain consistently high retention and completion rates across their faculty-taught ODL courses. This research documents the development and application of strategies that contribute to these high success rates. Information and Library Studies faculty, through a framework of action research, undertook an analysis of implementation strategies designed to support student retention and completion. This framework provided a methodological foundation for focus-group discussion. The faculty evaluated and disseminated the strategies derived from these focus-group discussions across other ILS courses in an iterative process of application and analysis. Strategies for retention and completion in this research are discussed in the context of course selection, orientation, layered support, communication between students and faculty, support between student and faculty, social interaction, and community building in an ODL environment.
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Maathuis-Smith, S., Wellington, S., Cossham, A. F., Fields, A. J., Irvine, J., Welland, S., & Innes, M. (2011). Obtaining high retention and completion rates in a New Zealand ODL environment: A case study of strategies employed by Information and Library Studies faculty at the Open Polytechnic. Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning, 15(1), 31-45.
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