Student retention in online education is a concern for students, faculty and administration. Retention rates are 20% lower in online courses than in traditional face-to-face courses. As part of an integration and engagement strategy, a face-to-face orientation was added to an online undergraduate business information systems course to examine its impact on retention. The study methodology consisted of an early email contact, distribution of course documents, a follow-up phone call, and a pre-course face-to-face orientation. The retention rate of students who attended the orientation was over 91% with a p-value of 0.9143. The retention rate of students not attending the orientation was just under 18%. Findings suggest that face-to-face orientations impact retention positively.
Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration
Ali, Radwan, and Elke M. Leeds. "The Impact of Face-to-Face Orientation on Online Retention: A Pilot Study." Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration 12.4, 2009.