:Mindset / Success and goal setting

How to increase online student success in your courses

online student success online student success

Every teacher wants to see their students experience success. It’s the reason they decide to teach in the first place. So how do you facilitate online student success? Whether it’s a cohort-based course or a self-paced course, there are several ways you can increase student success in your online courses.

What is student success?

Before we get to discussing the ways to increase online student success, we need to think about what that success is. Student success will differ from course to course and from student to student even. How one student defines success may differ from how another student does, depending on what they’re each looking to get out of their course.

How will you measure student success?

Think about how you currently measure student success for your courses. Decide which measurements are working well, and which you think might need some adjustment or replacing.

Here are a few ways to measure your online student success:

  • Course completion
  • Assignment and task completion
  • Discussion participation
  • Office hours conversation
  • Passing test or quiz responses
  • 6 online student success measurement strategies

1. Create milestone moments

What we mean by this is: create moments within your course that your students can use to make sure they’re on pace. And then they can reach out if they feel behind at some point as well. These moments can take the form of learning objectives listed after each lecture. Or it can look like a homework assignment or a short quiz to check understanding. Or if the course has to do with creating something, it might look like a certain amount of physical progress on the project.

2. A final quiz or test

Similar to the point above, you may want to create a final test or quiz for students to take to see that they’ve learned everything from the course that was expected. This way they can know whether they have met their goals. You can also help guide them to the information they should review for any questions they get wrong or happen to struggle with.

3. Create and environment where students can ask questions

One of the most important aspects of online student success is making sure they feel comfortable asking questions. Because students aren’t sitting in a traditional classroom setting, they need to know the best way to ask questions. It’s not quite as simple as raising a hand or staying a few minutes after class. So be sure to make it clear to your students if you have office hours, or drop in conference hours when they can schedule a call or show up to a zoom. Or if you have a certain form for them to fill out to ask questions. No matter how you do it, make sure your students are aware.

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4. Keep the lectures short and easy to understand

When it comes to creating your lectures, keep them short. The shorter they are the easier time your students will have in actually absorbing the material. You can help improve online student success by structuring your content to help. Making your lectures shorter can help keep your students engaged in your course content.

5. Make sure the information in the course is relevant

You should constantly be checking on the relevance of your coursework. When a student signs up for your course they’re expecting to get the most up-to-date and useful information. That’s why they’re spending their hard earned money on a course with your expertise in it. Every time you run your course, if it’s cohort-based, or every quarter, if it’s self-paced, check the information in your course. Look for anything out of date, updated statistics or numbers, updated best practices, any language that’s outdated, and general accuracy. This refresh can benefit you and your students. You can also try incorporating any feedback you get from students about what might make your course more useful.

6. Provide students with resources

Your course will obviously be the largest resource available to your students. But you have the opportunity to point them to other resources and information that might help them with their educational journey too. This could take the form of a “further reading” section on the syllabus or a final slide for each lecture with online resources or exercises for students to try in their free time. Remember, resources can also come in the form of practices or exercises to try. They aren’t strictly more and more information for them to take in.

Author: Nina Godlewski, Nina is a Content Marketing Strategist at Teachable. She has a passion for taking complex topics and making them accessible for any reader. Previously she's written for Lending Tree, Fundera, Newsweek, and Business Insider.

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