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Supporting Online Learners

by Sean Dolan, Chip Donohue, Lisa Holstrom, Latonia Pernell, and Anu Sachdev
November/December 2009
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/supporting-online-learners/5019090/

Effective and easily accessible student support services are essential to the success of adult learners. A student-centered approach is especially important in the design and delivery of online courses, professional certificates, and degree programs for early childhood professionals. And a student-first approach is essential for non-traditional adult learners who have minimal technology skill and experiences, are skeptical of using technology to learn about early childhood education and care, and have a strong preference for face-to-face learning. Before these students can take advantage of the engaging high-tech online programs and empowering online community of learners we offer, they need a high-touch approach to skill-building, easy access to ‘how to’ tutorials and resources, ‘helpful’ help in the context of early childhood education, a safe and easy-to-use learning environment, and guided opportunities for interacting and building relationships.

Once students take an online course they expect to be able to conduct all of their business with the institution online. That means that we have to integrate a wide range of student services to promote persistence, retention, and academic achievement, including: marketing and recruitment; applications and admissions; financial aid, tuition and fees; registration and enrollment; orientation; tech support; web-based resources or a campus portal; academic advising; tutoring; ...

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