Central Washington University offers an information technology administrative management program in an online format aimed at place- and time-bound working adults. The following are three ways the program works to improve student retention:
- Simplified advising sheets—The university provides an academic advising sheet that students sometimes find difficult to read. To address this, the program creates a one-page, cloud-based advising sheet that lists prerequisites for each required course, when the courses are offered, the modality of the course, and other useful information. Academic advisors meet with students via Skype, telephone, or email and focus on academic progress and career aspirations.
- Consistency—A certain degree of uniformity can increase student retention. This becomes a bigger issue as an online program grows and needs to rely on more adjunct instructors. To address this, the program uses courses created by master teachers (tenured or tenure-track faculty) across all course sections with the expectation that each instructor will use at least 80 percent of that master course in his/her course.
- Instructor presence—Even with the use of essentially the same course content, instructors use the other 20 percent of the course to build in their own presence through audio, video, and prompt responses to students.