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Spotlight on: Faculty Outreach and Student Engagement

In an accelerated-online course, early student participation and engagement is critical to student success. The information below outlines some strategies that can be put in place to help promote student success and participation. 

Course Start – Recommended Outreach for All Students 

Prior to Week 1 

  • Clear Expectations:  In the Student Orientation, as an announcement, and/or in the course syllabus, clearly outline expectations for participation in the first week of the course. Include and/or link to participation policies for online students.  
  • Pre-populate the course with a welcome announcement to set a warm, welcoming tone and make students aware of early deliverables and requirements. 

Weeks 1 and 2 

  • Week 1 Early Deliverables: Include early deliverables in the course to ensure that students are logging in and participating. This can be a low-stakes participation activity such as a Student Introduction discussion forum or syllabus quiz.   
  • Outreach: Faculty can reach out to new students with the following touch points to offer additional support as learners become accustomed to the course: 
    • Day 1 – Welcome Announcement and Week 1 Introduction with reminder of deliverables and where to find help 
    • Day 3/4 – Mid-week checkpoint with reminder of deliverables, where they should be on weekly activities, major projects, and other activities 
    • Day 7: Weekly summary/wrap up with information on how to prepare for the upcoming week.  
    • Day 8: Week 2 Introduction with reminders.  

Beyond Week 2 

Continue to interact with students and offer support on an on-going basis. It is good practice to reach out to students at least once each week at the beginning of the week with course announcements and/or emails. Continue to follow up with students that are unresponsive or having trouble.  

Policies and Administrative Drop/Withdrawal 

Prior to the first program start date, clearly outline university and program policies for student participation and engagement.  

Non-Engaged Student Outreach  

Students that do not engage quickly in the course or do not demonstrate substantive engagement may be at risk for missing deadlines and, eventually, imminent administrative withdrawal. Consider reaching out to students with “no activity” using the touchpoints below:  

The dates below assume a two-week window leading up to administrative withdrawal with administrative withdrawal occurring on day 14. These dates can be tailored to reflect the policies of each university.  

    • Day 6: Email reminder that there are engagement expectations and to contact the instructor. 
    • Day 8: Email notice that there are six days to demonstrate substantive engagement in their course and to contact the instructor. 
    • Day 10: Email notice that there are four days to demonstrate substantive engagement in their course and to contact the instructor. 
    • Day 12: Email notice of administrative withdrawal with no refund in two days and the urgent need to contact the instructor. 
    • Day 13: Email notice of imminent administrative withdrawal with no refund in one day. 
    • Day 14: Email notice of imminent administrative withdrawal with no refund. 

In addition to faculty members utilizing these touch points for non-engaged students, AP Retention Specialists are able to reach out to at-risk students based on LMS data (if shared with AP). If interested, reach out to your AP Managing Director to learn more.