More students than ever before are taking online classes, yet higher education is facing an online retention crisis; students are failing and dropping out of online classes at dramatically higher rates than face-to-face classes. Grounded in academic research, original surveys, and experimental studies, Connecting in the Online Classroom
demonstrates how connecting with students in online classes through even simple rapport-building efforts can significantly improve retention rates and help students succeed.
Drawing on more than a dozen years of experience teaching and researching online, Rebecca Glazier provides practical, easy-to-use techniques that online instructors can implement right away to begin building rapport with their students, including
- proactively reaching out through personalized check-in emails;
- creating opportunities for human connection before courses even begin through a short welcome survey;
- communicating faculty investment in students' success by providing individualized and meaningful assignment feedback;
- hosting non-content-based discussion threads where students and faculty can get to know one other; and
- responding to students' questions with positivity and encouragement (and occasionally also cute animal pictures).
She also presents case studies of universities that are already using these strategies, along with specific, data-driven recommendations for administrators, making the book valuable for faculty, instructional designers, support staff, and administrators alike.
The science-backed strategies that Glazier provides will enable instructors to connect with their students and help those students thrive. Speaking to the paradox of online learning, the book also explains that, although the great promise of online education is expanded access and greater equity—especially for traditionally underserved and hard-to-reach populations, like lower-income students, working parents, first-generation students, and students of color—the current gap between online and face-to-face retention means universities are falling far short of this promise.