Academic journal article Academic Exchange Quarterly

Technology and the Human Factor: Providing the Personal Touch

Academic journal article Academic Exchange Quarterly

Technology and the Human Factor: Providing the Personal Touch

Article excerpt

Innovation Abstracts, edited by Suanne D. Roueche, a publication focusing on the practical aspects of teaching and administration in higher education, originates with the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin as an informational organ of the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD). In newsletter format, Innovation Abstracts provides information regarding the ongoing activities of the parent organization while also providing a forum for educators involved in all aspects of the delivery of programmatic services to the collegiate student clientele.

Two relatively recent issues of the publication contain articles especially relevant to the maintenance of student morale and motivation, given the special instructional requirements of online and distance education classes and the more general nature of the sometimes daunting personal and situational challenges facing students in these classes.

"Successful Strategies to Support Student Learning and Retention in Online Classes," an article submitted by Theresa DeFranco and Mary Wall of Atlantic Cape Community College (Abstracts, Vol. XXIII, Number 4), describes a collaborative process in which students are enabled to express their personal points of view about issues in small groups to formulate group responses online. The writers report a very high level of the exchange of information and ideas which they believe reflects significant cognitive development among the student participants. A strategy for promoting retention involves the creation of three separate completion tracks or schedules for which students may contract at the beginning of a semester. If a student contracts to complete the course work in a shorter time frame but finds it necessary for personal or academic reasons to shift to a longer term, the revised schedule is accepted. The writers believe that the "tiered track" promotes student retention by providing additional schedule flexibility and reducing tension when students experience stressful situations. …

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