Online Courses And Student Success – (Part 3 of 5)

Not all students do well in online courses. In fact, the statistics indicate that online courses have a much higher dropout rate compared to traditional face-to-face courses. The dropout rates in online courses tend to be 10 to 20 percent higher than in face-to-face courses. Institutional level factors like technical support, academic support, advising, and availability of resources can support student success in online courses. At the course level, there are many simple strategies and techniques that instructors can use to support students’ success in their online classes. 

There are many different topics to cover and best practices to share in this area of Online Courses and Student Success. In an effort to break the information up into smaller chunks, a different topic will be covered each month for the rest of the year. The complete 5-part series will be seen here:

  • August 2018 – Organization and layout of the course
  • September 2018 – Communicate clearly
  • October 2018 – Preparation
  • November 2018 – Chunk the content and scaffold instruction
  • December 2018 – Humanize the course


Students often enroll in online courses without a realistic understanding of what it takes to be successful in an online environment. Online learning environments are better suited for students who are self-disciplined, motivated, and know how to manage their time. An orientation to online learning and tips on how to succeed in online courses can better prepare students for online courses.

The student orientation should include discussions of:

  • Technical skills
  • Reasonable weekly time expectations (hours per week)
  • Study skills
  • Communication expectations
  • Resources for technical help, writing, accessibility and others
  • Welcome message and personal introductory video of the instructor in a nonacademic setting is a great way to build rapport