Overcoming Online Persistence Challenges With The Trojan Café (Part 2)

One of the first ideas that came out of the planning phase was to create student forums that would allow interaction between users. Students were already utilizing Blackboard discussion boards to meet course requirements, therefore the infrastructure was ideal for hosting casual student forums. Forums are moderated by staff and have been a significant attraction for students desiring feedback on a wide range of topics from selecting the best instructor, to time management suggestions, and even buying and selling textbooks. The Student Forums contain several “rooms” including General Chat, a Military Student room, a forum for getting quick answers to questions about university policies and administrative concerns, and a room for contests and giveaways, allowing students the opportunity to win university memorabilia. The most fulfilling function of the student forums has been the exchange of support and encouragement shared between users. Students often express apprehension about returning to school after being out for many years, or concern about being able to devote adequate time to studies while also managing a family, or stress about how to get used to the online format. These fears are quickly met with rapid replies from students with whom they can identify, offering reassuring words of hope. These kinds of exchanges were not possible prior to Trojan Café. <Read more.>

Via Co-written with Glynn Cavin, Associate Vice Chancellor of Distance Learning, Troy University.