Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cascadia's eLearning Mentor Program

Cascadia has launched an eLearning mentor program to support "at risk" students in online classes. We identified "at risk" in talks with key stakeholders including advising. We identify students through a two pronged approach. First, we look at specific groups of students including:

  • first time taking an online class
  • taking multiple online classes in a single quarter
  • academic probation in the previous quarter
  • older or younger student
  • Returning after missing a few quarters
We also look at students in courses that traditionally have high drop outs. We are currently focusing on Phlebotomy, though Math 95 and English 101 will hopefully be included soon.  

We had our institutional researcher create a Data Express report to pull this list of students. The more indicators the student has, the higher priority they have on our list.

The program itself is 4 weeks long, beginning 2 weeks before the quarter begins.

  • Week 1 - mentors contact students, confirm that the student knows they are in an online/hybrid class and encourages them to complete Week Zero.
  • Week 2 - mentors follow up with students to confirm completion of Week Zero and to address any questions.  They also prepare the student for expectations of the first week of the quarter.
  • Week 3 (first week of quarter) - mentors run ANGEL reports to confirm that student is participating in classes, follows up with non participants.
  • Week 4 - wrap up - mentors confirm that student is doing ok and concludes support. Students who need additional support are routed to other campus resources.

The program just got started Winter 2011. When the student workers return for Spring Quarter, they will follow up with the folks they contacted in January to see how things went.  We'll use that data to see what the impact of the mentors was.

To fund this program, eLearinng applied for and won an internal Advancing Cascadia grant for $4,000 to pay for two student workers for 2 quarters.  We assisted approximately 80 students in the Winter and I hope to double that in the Spring.