Promoting Online Students' Learning and Achievement: Purposeful Partnerships Between Faculty and Academic Coaches
Abstract: Scholars have argued that the best student outcomes occur when learning center professionals collaborate with faculty members. However, such centers often function in the margins of higher educational institutions. At one completely online university, the learning center was marginalized to a large extent, resulting in a one-way flow of information (from faculty to the center only), faculty members’ reporting not knowing what occurred once they encouraged or referred a student to seek additional support, and gaps between services and the curriculum, faculty knowledge, and student knowledge and competence. In response, the center's associate director actively participated in committees and was granted a greater level of influence in university decision making. Furthermore, interviews and focus groups were conducted with curriculum directors, faculty members, and students as part of a formal needs assessment. Based on the findings, the coaching session form was updated to reflect the same language that faculty members use to assess student learning and determine competence. Additionally, the faculty referral form was changed to a collaboration form that aligned with the coaching session form. Consequently, the learning center professionals are no longer functioning in the margins of the university to the same extent, allowing for the development of personalized coaching plans developed by the coach and informed by and shared with the student and faculty member.
Presider: Debra Bauder, University of Louisville