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Virtual Student Center (Interactive Training Module)

Rating: 3.1/5 (11 votes cast)

The face of the typical online student is ever changing. A distance student may be fresh out of high school, the baby-boomer seeking new skills, the professional seeking a promotion or the student juggling work, home and social demands. Academic success for these students is due to various factors. They are motivated and focused but could be left out of the social climate that greatly contributes to academic success.

The National Center for Education Statistics conducted a study of Distance Education courses and offerings for the 2000-2001 academic years. The study found “an estimated 2,876,000 enrollments in college-level, credit-granting distance education courses, with 82 percent of these at the undergraduate level.” With enrollment rates continuously rising, online learner needs are growing as well. It is hard for online students to feel connected to the institution.

Currently, retention in online courses is dramatically lower than in the typical face-to-face class. “One explanation for high dropout rates and dissatisfaction with distance delivered courses may relate to a missing sense of community in non face-to-face courses. In discussing the importance of interactivity, DeVries & Wheeler (1996) discuss the lack of face-to-face contact as a major barrier for distance education” (qtd. in Hill).

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (by: Rita Vela Help Desk Specialist South Texas College)