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Factors Affecting Student Retention in Online Courses: Overcoming this Critical Problem

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The purpose of this study was to determine what a panel of 15 experts would identify as critical factors affecting student retention in online courses that will serve as implications for educational leaders to guide their student retention strategies, online organizational structures, institutional policies, and online instructional activities. A three-round Delphi method was used to collect and examine panelists’ perceptions, experiences, and recommendations. Expert panelists considered the most important factors affecting student retention in online courses and reflected upon their collective responses. As a result, several themes emerged from each of the three rounds. The top three factors that affect student retention in online courses were student self-discipline, quality of faculty and student interaction, and institutional support to students.
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Keywords: Delphi Method; Learning; Online; Retention; Student

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2013

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  • (CTER) publishes refereed articles that examine research and research-related topics in vocational/career and technical education, career development, human resource development, career issues in the schools (Grades K-12), postsecondary education, adult and lifelong learning, and workforce education. The CTER Editorial Board is committed to publishing scholarly work that represents a variety of conceptual and methodological bases. Submission of manuscripts representing one of the following styles is encouraged: (a) empirically-based manuscripts that report results of original research, either quantitative or qualitative, (b) reviews or synthesis of empirical or theoretical literature, (c) essays derived from original historical or philosophical research, (d) reviews of recently published books, and (e) rejoinders to articles recently published in CTER. CTER will consider for publication papers initially presented at conferences, including those disseminated through conference proceedings.
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