5 Things Online Students Wish Online Colleges Would Do in 2017
It is important for online colleges to listen to what online students need. This will increase student’s likelihood to graduate. In the long run, this will maintain the retention rate. Students have different reasons to study online. Choosing a program is daunting, not only for students, but also parents and even employers and spouses. Out of hundreds, possibly thousands choices out there, future online students are faced with having to make one of the biggest decisions in life. They will need enough information, to make correct decision and avoid regret. Otherwise, it may lead to students dropping out. Both online colleges and online students will pay the consequences if this happens. It’s however possible to avoid students’ drop out. Students need good quality in both learning experience, as well as the infrastructure that goes to support it.
5 Things Online Students Wish Online Colleges Would Do in 2017
So, what do potential and current online students hope for online colleges to do in 2017? What do online students wish online colleges do to ensure the smoothness of study progress? I asked this question to online students and here’s what they have to say.
Program schedule available early.
I am aware of the complication and challenges of having a program scheduled too early than the planned starting dates. However, online colleges must strive to have this available to online students, as early as they possibly can. Online students find that program schedules should be announced much earlier. This is to help students plan their daily activities, or even work and holidays. Regardless it’s a challenge for online colleges to provide this, online students still need to have a scheduling early. The earlier the schedule is made available, the better it is for students to plan ahead. As a consequence, students will be able to follow each module with a better preparation. Therefore, it will increase the likelihood to finish the module. If this is followed through, graduation is very well on its way.
Relevant and timely response.
Online colleges receive questions from students every day. Some are more urgent than others. Some even make a difference whether the student will pass a certain module. It is therefore important that online colleges will have a platform where students will get accurate, relevant and timely response. Sometimes, the questions need more time to handle, due to different investigations that it might need. However, students must be aware and informed of what is happening and when they will receive the answer. This is because students are often, almost always, restrained by due dates for projects and assignments. The speed of answering students’ questions could mean a passing or failing a particular subject or module. Especially if the questions are academic related, then it’s even more important to answer immediately.
Not all questions are created equal. Some are less urgent, or not urgent at all. Recognize which period is busier than other times, so both students and colleges can anticipate the flow of processes. Online students struggle doing different activities from different roles and responsibilities they own. It would be life changing if online colleges could help students make their lives more manageable. Not by doing their laundry, but by providing timely and relevant answers to their questions. Education institutions have responsibilities to do this for students. Provide better support. Not only faster reaction, but also be more precise about helping students find answers or solutions to their problems.
More accessible information.
Not all questions need personal or customized answers. All standard information can be put online or available somewhere where students can easily access. This will significantly reduce the amount of time required to answer each question one by one. There should be a straight forward way for students to access this readily available information. Colleges websites don’t always provide what students need. Intranet and other online platform need to have sufficient content for students to go about studying the program, as well as other processes, be it academic or non academic.
Sometimes it’s not a matter of having the info or not, but it’s whether it’s easy to find. The simpler the structure, the better and easier it is to find what students need. This will help online students save time. Something they don’t have the luxury of having much of. Some say they prefer to connect on social media, mostly on Facebook, but also on Linkedin and Instagram. Unfortunately, there are still not too many colleges who are making use of this easy to use platform.
More flexibility in paying tuition.
Online students need more flexible payment structure. Not necessarily cheaper, but a more affordable way to pay the tuitions. Although this may seem more important for starting students, this is also needed by those who are in the middle of their programs. Situations change, sometimes students need more flexibility in paying. This is not always possible, however, to the furthest extent possible, online colleges should offer more flexibility. Not too strict that it’s stressing students out that they think more of making payments then actually studying or doing assignments. This negatively affects study process.
Students invest a great deal of their money and time when studying online. Offering assistance in finding a work placement is something that many online students mentioned. So, creating partnership with employers or help to transition in a form of internships will help students decide to stay until graduation. While this is not always the biggest reason for students to start or complete, some students say they would push themselves harder to complete the program. This is so they can get the opportunity to be offered a work placement.
Those were 5 things online colleges can do or improve to help online students graduate. Other than the fact that students need to use the correct tools and avoid making common mistakes. This will considerably decrease the dropout rate, if students feel comfortable studying and know how to navigate their program, and get help in planning schedules.
How are online colleges preparing themselves for 2017? Hopefully 2017 will be a better year for online students to have better online learning experience with their online colleges.
Online Learning MASTERY: Handbook for Online Degrees addresses more issues students face. If your goal is to help your students reach graduation and apply their knowledge, find out what these issues are from the book, so you can accommodate them in your programs. Your students will need to know what’s inside the book, so they don’t have to repeat the same mistakes others have done.
Having the best curriculum and most advanced technology are only small parts of making the whole study process successful. It’s our responsibility to connect more with students and provide help and support they need.
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