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ERIC Number: EJ1120661
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1551-2169
Building Rapport to Improve Retention and Success in Online Classes
Glazier, Rebecca A.
Journal of Political Science Education, v12 n4 p437-456 2016
As the prevalence of online education continues to grow, so do concerns about student success. Online students tend to withdraw more often and earn lower grades, compared to students in traditional classrooms. Explanations for this disparity range from student characteristics to institutional shortcomings to course design. Attempts to counter this trend are often resource intensive and yield mixed results. I hypothesize that the difficulty of establishing student-instructor rapport in online classes contributes to lower student success. Without rapport, students are less likely to remember and prioritize online classes. Thus, improving rapport with online students may lead to improvements in student success. To test this hypothesis, I implemented rapport-building teaching strategies--including video updates, personal e-mails, and personalized electronic comments on assignments--in some online classes (student n = 143) and compared student outcomes in those classes to online classes taught without rapport-building strategies (student n = 322). Difference of means tests, logit models, and OLS regression models all show significantly lower attrition and significantly higher grades in the rapport-building courses. Qualitative student comments identify the high-rapport relationship with the instructor as a key factor in student success. Thus, rapport building represents a simple, instructor-driven intervention that can significantly improve online retention and grades.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A