• Cutting Edge

How to find the right time to connect with students

On the Cutting EDge podcast, Western Governors University’s Jennie Sanders says her team’s recent research shows that the right kind of outreach to students is increasing course completion.

In a research paper published in the Journal of Postsecondary Student Success, the university reported that students who received timely faculty outreach via a dashboard were 20% more likely to complete their courses than students who did not receive the same level of personalized help.

“What we wanted to understand and what was the focus of this research was when these essential actions are surfacing for learners,” Sanders says on the podcast. “So not just that, ‘Oh yeah, the student needs help,’ but trying to reach out to them within a certain time period.”

In the research, Sanders’ team looked at a dataset with more than 300,000 student course interactions in several different time periods.

“We wanted to understand not just the impact of the outreach, but also the timing of the outreach across the entire experience of the learners,” Sanders says. “What we found was that for those students who receive that outreach, it certainly had a positive impact on their course completion, as well as the retention.”

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Cutting Edge


Every two weeks, the Cutting EDge Podcast will bring you the latest in higher education technology news and analysis. The program will explore trending topics in depth and highlight news across the campus IT landscape. Each episode will feature conversations with top executives across higher education on things like hybrid learning, emerging technology, cybersecurity and modernization.

Hosted by Jake Williams

Jake Williams is the vice president of content and community for StateScoop & EdScoop at Scoop News Group. Williams has spent nearly a decade in the government IT market, covering the ins-and-outs of state and local government as well as higher education. Williams started his journalism career in regional journalism in his native Pennsylvania, and also worked as a reporter for Campaigns & Elections magazine.