Improving Retention Factors and Student Success Online Utilizing the Community of Inquiry Framework’s Instructor Presence Model
Keywords:Instructor Presence, Community of Inquiry, sustainability
Considerable research on effective instruction in the virtual classroom exists. Yet very little is known about the extent to which instructor presence (IP) based on the Community of Inquiry model (CoI), are directly related to retention and student success. CoI includes three components of IP: teaching (TP), cognitive (CP), and social (SP). These IP engagement strategies have been suggested to improve outcomes if effectively applied in the virtual classroom. Attrition rates, retention, engagement, and student and instructor success rates are critical aspects of an effective virtual classroom and identifying practices that support these efforts is essential. This study suggests that CoI engagement strategies, when applied by instructors to the online classroom effectively, can improve factors associated with retention and success. To prepare instructors, we designed and utilized a series of seven self-paced interactive modules. With the training, the educators were able to engage with students more effectively by integrating best practices associated with IP. Course dropout rates and student success rates both significantly improved (p = .05; p < .001 respectively) after these engagement strategies were more efficaciously integrated into the classroom by the trained instructors.
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