The authors suggest shorter courses would not reduce dropout rates, as these were similar for 12 week and 16-week courses. However, Figure 1 shows a steady dropout rate each week of a course (apart from a spike where there is a final paper). Making courses much shorter, should therefore improve completion. I have proposed dividing a typical 12 week university course into three "micro-credentials", and that these could be used for students in the Solomon Islands (formal paper in press).
Luz, Rolando, Salvador and Sousa noted technical difficulties with computers, the internet, and course platform, as the most frequent reasons reported by students for pulling out. Lack of access due to computer problems, I suggest can be addressed by use of smart phones. Students can use the smart phone for readings, videos, and small interactive exercises, to keep them engaged.
Major assignments may need a more capable device than a smart phone. However, larger smart phones now have screens approaching the size of a small tablet computer, and can have an external keyboard connected. An external monitor can be connected to some smart phones, to convert it into a desktop computer.
Slow Internet access can be addressed by more efficient course content design, and packaging. Students could download large course components to their phone when they have high speed access to the Internet (for example free WiFi in cafes), and then read this material offline. Small frequent interactions, such as participating in a discussion forum, could be done over a slower, low speed connection.
Luz, M., Rolando, L., Salvador, D., & Sousa, A. (2018). Characterization of the Reasons Why Brazilian Science Teachers Drop Out of Online Professional Development Courses. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distributed Learning, 19(5). doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v19i5.3642
Worthington, T. (in press). Blended Learning for the Indo-Pacific. In Teaching, Assessment, and Learning for Engineering (TALE), 2018 IEEE 7th International Conference on. IEEE. url http://hdl.handle.net/1885/148733
ps: I suggest IRRODL (and other AU publications) need to offer secure HTTPS web connections. IRRODL is giving away open access content, and so doesn't need a high security connection. However, insecure websites are now being routinely treated with suspicion by web browsers and other software. Recently I made the change with my own website. It was quick, easy, and free.