Online student support
Support students to develop the skills and knowledge needed to complete their online course.
This helps maintain student satisfaction and encourages successful progression and completion.
Online learning students can have different support needs.
They need to know how and where to seek support. It may be through a trainer or helpdesk.
Help students access the support they need.
Use your marketing strategy and enrolment process to show how you will communicate support channels to your students.
How to support online students
Help prepare your students for online learning.
Check they have the required digital skills during the enrolment process.
If not, you could:
- Help them develop the digital skills they need to complete the course.
- Provide digital skills training as part of the enrolment process.
This allows students to develop the required technical knowledge and capability to make their experience more enjoyable.
Your student needs to record a video for assessment and then upload that file.
Do they know how to do this?
It may be hard to identify when online students require more or individualised support.
Check online students:
- log in regularly
- take part in their learning
- progress through their course.
Anticipate student needs and provide access to support services.
- Provide multiple support channels.
- Identify available, relevant, and local support services for students.
- Provide options to help students engage with the trainer and each other.
- Telephone, email and/or messaging systems help students connect.
- Trainers need quick and easy ways to support students.
Online students need to easily engage with their trainers and peers.
To support student engagement:
- check in with students
- identify how they prefer to connect
- consider creating an engagement plan
- promote positive communication
- proactively connect
- give prompt feedback
- encourage real-time interaction.
Create a classroom environment using video conferencing tools.
This can increase collaboration between peers.
It gives students the opportunity to connect, seek support, and develop friendships.
You can identify how to support your online students by monitoring their progress.
Are they logging in and taking part in their learning?
Use digital tools like LMS reports to track and document their knowledge and skill development.
Identify students not progressing:
- Contact them by telephone and email for additional support
- Discuss course content and their progression.
This can help students feel supported and maintain motivation.
Students changing to online learning can have queries, feedback, or concerns.
Provide a transparent process to help students, including:
- easy to access help channels
- quick response times
- regular updates
- outcome and closure
This is a great way to identify ways to improve student support.
Overseas students have additional course progression requirements as a condition of their student visa.
Information for ESOS providers:
Advice from providers
Provider advice to support online students.
If you move to online learning, never use this as an excuse to back off on your student support – truly successful RTOs are those who always put their students first.
Students who are located remotely deeply appreciate personalised support. Some of them may be very remotely located with very few others around them. Knowing they have a whole college backing them, which is there to support them in every way possible to complete, means a lot to remote students.
We also enable students to email assessors and discuss assessment issues with them, and personalised calls with assessors can be scheduled on demand. You may consider something similar.
Personal support is key for all students wherever they are located.
Serryn O'Regan, ASQA Stakeholder Liaison Group (Evolve College Pty Ltd)
It is important to have a clear induction process to online learning that includes:
- what is going to happen
- expectations from the student
- ensuring students can undertake online learning (equipment, allocated space within their home)
- clear instructions to students (what they are required to undertake without direct supervision)
- reliable delivery services (for hard copy texts, assessments etc) to ensure they have required resources, learning texts, assessments etc and if soft copy is able to print or read digital formats
- do they have financial resources to replace ink, paper for printers, sufficient internet data (some of our regional students would be on plans and satellite internet)
- regular contact via coordinators /admin staff to check on students’ mental wellbeing. Some students be self-motivated to complete tasks and may be comfortable to discuss this with someone other than their trainer.
Alison Heagney and Vicki Zammit (Community College Northern Inland)