Professor Makes Sure There’s No Disconnect in Her Online Program

Kari Frisch is well aware of the fact that online courses suffer from high rates of attrition and are sometimes held in low regard.

“I know there’s a bad reputation out there in some circles about online courses,” says Frisch, an instructor who teaches online courses in the Speech Department at Central Lakes College, a two-year community college in Brainerd, Minn.

But Frisch says she is motivated by the criticism of online courses, deemed to be ineffective and more prone to being dropped by students.

“That damaging stereotype is, in part, what kept driving me to do what I could to make my course something to be proud of and that would make a positive difference in students’ lives, not just academically,” explains Frisch, who has been teaching online courses at Central Lakes College since 2009.

Evidently, Frisch’s work is paying off.

At a time when questions remain about the value and effectiveness of online education, Frisch is increasingly being called on to give presentations on how to keep students engaged in online courses for the long haul.

For instance, last month, Frisch presented at the 7th Annual Emerging Technologies for Online Learning International Symposium. The event is staged by the Sloan Consortium, an organization that advocates for the mainstreaming of online education.

The title of Frisch’s presentation, “How’d You Do That? Tips and Tricks That Might Account for My 95 Percent Retention Rate,” drew from the fact that attrition in her courses is 3.9 percent—well below the 10.08 and 6.02 percent attrition rates for online and land-based courses, respectively, on her campus. <Read more.>

Via Jamaal Abdul-Alim, Diverse Issues in Higher Education.