As a teacher, I can increase graduation rates of my students by increasing engagement in learning, especially when it applies to at-risk learners (Archambault, 19). So, as a brand new online teacher, I felt it was within my education, training, and scope to attempt to increase engagement in my online classroom.
Yesterday I contacted 34 disengaged students with a personalized letter inviting them to come back to the online classroom and turn in an assignment. Within 24 hours, 10 of them had returned. Of those 10, 7 had turned in an assignment.
A review of the circumstances leads me to believe that contacting an online student prior to the two-week-absent mark increases the likelihood of the student’s coursework progression during that one timeframe. The following elements of the message may have had an impact of the student's response: the use of their name, a smiley-face used frequently by adolescents in text chats, and the naming of a specific objective of submitting an assignment.
Archambault, et al. Research Committee Issues Brief: An Exploration of At-Risk Learners and Online Education. 2010