Document Type



Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research


Published in MERLOT Journal of Online Teaching and Learning, Volume 7, Number 1 (March 2011). 128-133.

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Student retention is a critical component to the success of any university, whether instruction is provided in a traditional or online setting. Creating an effective student retention program can positively impact student success and, ultimately, the reputation and the image of the institution. The implementation of a student retention program can be especially challenging in the online environment for both the instructors and the institution. Unlike a traditional university setting where students and instructors interact face-to-face, online programs need to rely on alternative methods to engage students. When online instructors take the time to create a consistent proactive outreach program students feel connected to the instructor and strive harder to be successful in the classroom. Online outreach programs can include tasks as simple as consistently emailing students, enlisting the help of student advisors, and taking time to phone students. Each approach has the potential to keep engaged students participating and can reengage non-participating students by ensuring a high level of faculty and student interaction.