Vincent Tinto’s conceptual “Schema for Dropout from College” correlated academic and social engagement with student success and learning. However, several factors make social engagement more difficult for non-traditional, online students. They don’t have the opportunity to participate in social engagement and institutional extracurricular activities that are afforded to traditional, on-campus students. Consequently, online students often feel disenfranchised from the university community, and as Tinto put it, “Insufficient social interaction seems to lead primarily to voluntary withdrawal”.
We sought a way to overcome that disconnect. The answer was to create a virtual student union where online students could congregate, share, and build that sense of belonging.
As we explored the concept of an online student success center, we kept Tinto’s scholarly work in mind. We carefully considered who our students are, what we were delivering to them, and where we wanted to take them. <Read more.>