Flying SOLO for Student Success

Flying SOLO for Student Success

Regina L. Garza Mitchell (Western Michigan University, USA) and Gina L. Cano-Monreal (Texas State Technical College, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8481-2.ch013
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This chapter describes how one innovative practice evolved to become an integral part of the college's efforts to increase student preparedness and success in courses so that they will be employable and competitive in the global workforce. Texas State Technical College Harlingen aimed to enhance student success in online education through implementing a mandatory class, Student Online Learning Orientation, for new online students. The course was developed as the result of faculty research and recommendations regarding online learning at the college. The majority of students at the college are underprepared and from low socioeconomic backgrounds, putting them at a disadvantage in taking these courses. Rather than a barrier to taking online classes, the goal of this class is to provide students with the necessary tools and skills to be successful. Results of the program show an increase in persistence and completion of online courses, and the course has become an integral part of the college's training and first-year experience for all students.
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Opportunities And Challenges Of Online Education

For the past 20 years the use of technology in education has increased dramatically, with enrollment increases in online courses exceeding that of face-to-face courses (Allen & Seaman, 2014; Lokken & Mullins, 2014). Community college students are more likely to be enrolled in online courses and programs than students at baccalaureate colleges and universities, and 97% of community colleges offer credit-bearing online learning options (Parsad & Lewis, 2008). Indeed, as the use of technology in general has increased, online education has evolved from being something different and suspect to being merely another option for students. Although acceptance of online education has grown amongst faculty and administrators (Allen & Seaman, 2014), online education is associated with both opportunities and challenges for students and colleges.

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