The Postsecondary Collaborative’s Blog

Photo of Palm Beach State College classroom
Palm Beach State College math class.

December 10, 2021

Welcome to the Collaborative’s blog! This blog is one way we will foster conversation around the many complex issues related to how faculty can support student success in online courses.

We will share findings from the Collaborative’s own research on online STEM courses at broad-access colleges, ways faculty can more effectively guide students to apply and continue to strengthen self-directed learning skills in online environments, and how education technologies can be used to improve learning.

We will spotlight key resources related to postsecondary online learning, with a focus on online introductory STEM courses. We will also highlight what partner colleges and universities are learning as together we develop knowledge around how instructors are learning to support self-directed learning skill-building in online courses, and students’ perspectives on using tech tools as they learn online.

Why is this work important? The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the growth of online course offerings at colleges and universities—but it’s still unclear how well faculty have transitioned to online formats, or how all students can reach their full potential in these courses. Instructors need support to improve online instruction in evidence-based ways. Research suggests that explicitly fostering certain student mindsets and skills—such as their sense of belonging and self-efficacy, along with help-seeking strategies and practice reflecting on their progress—can improve student outcomes. But how can faculty best do that? And how can they leverage the features of education technologies toward that goal?

The Collaborative’s research will explore what combinations of instructional strategies and technology features best help faculty cultivate these student attitudes and skills, with the goal of developing an instructional model and related guidance. The Collaborative’s engagement activities and events will aim to generate dialogue among higher ed faculty and leaders, educational technology developers, and researchers to understand the state of research and practice, strengthen understanding of the role of self-directed learning skills in teaching and learning, and promote use of the instructional model with the goal of ultimately improving instructional quality and student success in online courses.

And we want to hear from you! Please reach out to share your thoughts on the Collaborative’s research and engagement plans. Stay in the know by subscribing to our newsletter and following us on Twitter.

We look forward to learning with you!