Welcome back to the BC Academic Tech blog! As we jump back into the school year, I’m sure we’re all looking for ways to engage students at the beginning of the semester to increase retention. The beginning of the semester can be an intimidating and confusing time for our students. For this reason, welcoming students to our course, demystifying how to be successful in our course, connecting with our students, and empowering students can have a powerful impact on retention.
A PDF version of “Renegade Toolkit: Four Ways to Increase Retention and Student Engagement” is also available.
Welcome students to your course and make sure they know how excited you are to work with them. A liquid syllabus (Pacansky-Brock, 2017), a welcome video, and a welcome email can go a long way towards helping students feel welcome and ready to start the semester on the right foot.
For resources and how-tos on welcoming students, check out the Wakelet on welcoming.
Knowing how to be successful in a course can be overwhelming to students. To demystify success in your course, share tips for how a student can be successful in the first week. These tips can include how often to study or even how to study. Also, be sure to use modules so your Canvas course is easy to navigate. This is helpful even if you’re teaching face-to-face. Finally, make sure students know how to get a hold of you and when they can expect a response.
For resources and how-tos on demystifying, check out the Wakelet on demystifying.
Research has shown time and again the importance of instructor-student relationships for student success and retention. To build these relationships at the beginning of the semester, implement a survey in the beginning of the semester, create imperfect videos where students can get to know you a bit, and share relevant personal stories.
For resources and how-tos on connecting with students, check out the Wakelet on connecting.
Students may feel intimidated about taking a course at BC. To empower students and help them develop the confidence they need to succeed, implement a wisdom wall (Pacansky-Brock, 2017) where students can learn strategies that helped their peers be successful and icebreakers that help students connect the course to their personal and academic goals.
For resources and how-tos on empowering students, check out the Wakelet on empowering.
Pacansky-Brock, M. (2017).Best practices for teaching with emerging technologies (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.