Friday, October 6, 2017

CANCELED: Improving participation in online higher education, Canberra, 11 October

Dr Cathy Stone from University of Newcastle will be speaking on "Improving participation, success and retention in online higher education" at the ACS Canberra Education SIG: [
This event has been canceled, but a video of a previous presentation by Dr Stone is available.]
5pm 11 October 2017.Please RSVP.
Online learning has become a well-recognised part of the broader landscape of higher education. It is also proving to have a critical place in widening access and equity within this landscape. Increasing numbers of students from backgrounds historically under-represented at university are taking the opportunity to begin undergraduate study online, including through open-entry and alternative-entry pathways. However, retention in online undergraduate programs has been shown to be at least 20% lower than in face-to-face programs (Greenland & Moore, 2014; Moody, 2004), with an Australian Government Department of Education and Training report (2014) finding that only 44.4% of fully external (online) students, compared with a rate of 76.6% for face-to-face students, completed their undergraduate degrees over an 8-year period.
This presentation provides an overview of a national research project investigating the effectiveness of practices, supports and retention strategies in online learning at Australian universities and at the Open University UK. It discusses the background to this research, its findings and outcomes. Together with evidence from the international literature, the research findings informed a set of national guidelines for Australian institutions for improving the participation, retention and academic success of students in online education.
Full report: Opportunity Through Online Learning: Improving student access, participation and success in higher education, URL:

About the Speaker

Dr Cathy Stone, from the University of Newcastle, is a 2016 Equity Fellow and a 2017 Visiting Research Fellow with the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education. Cathy has had many years’ experience in developing and managing strategies to improve student success and retention in higher education, with her research and publications focusing particularly on the experiences of mature-age and first-in-family students. Cathy’s work with Open Universities Australia between 2011-2014 developed her interest in researching the online student experience and ways in which to improve outcomes for diverse cohorts of online students.

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