Student Success and Student Retention - These are buzz words used on just about every campus and by every vendor in higher education - and they should be. Student success is one of the most important metrics a college or university should track and measure. However, it is often the result of many other factors, initiatives, and programs on campus. A few key factors contributing to student success are preparation and engagement in their classes. They need books to study from, and students who engage with material, early and often, continue their academic career at a much higher rate.
Starting classes prepared may seem like one of the most basic and straightforward principles, but it is often one of the most overlooked. In a perfect world, every student shows up to every class on their schedule, bright eyed and bushy tailed (whatever that means), laptops in hand, and all of their required books and materials. Sadly, that is often not the case. A recent survey shows as much as 70% of students do not have the material needed for their classes on the first day! Most have to actively decide not only if they should buy their books, but also where to buy them from. Often, students have to choose between buying their books, or using that money to pay for food, rent, or other basic expenses. It’s not hard to argue that you can be successful if you don't have the material you need to study and learn from. While students recognize this, it’s not always an easy choice for them.
To help ensure that students are prepared, more and more classes are utilizing an Inclusive Access model, in which students are charged a fee at time of registration for digital materials for a specific class. These costs can be included in their tuition so the student does not have to make an active decision to buy their books. These materials are automatically delivered and available on the first day of class. Because these materials are digital, they are often much less expensive than their physical counterparts. When you know with certainty that your students have access to all of their materials on the first day, everyone starts out on equal footing and the learning can begin much quicker!
Another advantage of digital materials, some colleges and universities are starting to look at how early and often students are engaging with these materials as early indicators of success. For example, wouldn’t it be great to know if students have not opened or engaged with their digital materials at any point of their classes? How much would your student success rates improve if advising or faculty reached out to students who, 3 weeks into their first class, had still not accessed their required materials? Maybe it’s ok and there is no required reading yet. Or, maybe the student is having some problems and not sure where to go for help. At the very least it sparks a conversation, and could mean the difference between that student passing or failing the class.
For most colleges and universities using Inclusive Access, getting this data is not easy or even possible.
That’s where we can help!
At Akademos we are committed to providing the best (and only) course content platform and allowing our partners to leverage all of their technology and data to help their students succeed.