(CS EdX Sessions) Otutaha, H and Buttsworth, M

Title: The Impact of ‘Whole of University Approach’ on Student Led, Peer to Peer Retention Campaigns

Presenter(s): Holly Otutaha and Michael Buttsworth

Division of Student Services

Session Type: Interactive Discussion

When: Thursday, November 19th 2020 @ 11:30am – 12:30pm

Where: https://charlessturt.zoom.us/j/68391586072

Abstract: This student led panel will discuss what works in student retention.

The increase in Higher Education participation has coincided with an exponential growth in online education (Stone, 2019; Stone, O’Shea, May, Delahunty & Partington, 2016).  Established First Year design principles highlight the need to provide early response systems for online students who appear to be disengaging with data driven, targeted communication regarding available support services (Kift, 2008; van der Meer et al, 2018). However, the literature is silent about what constitutes effective response systems and awareness campaigns in tighter fiscal environments.

Student Central in collaboration with Faculty and the HEPPP retention team has shown how a coordinated approach to communication and peer to peer engagement can improve student retention whilst also providing a strong return on investment. Through a professional group of student casuals, the team implements a range of communication campaigns to support students at varying, critical points in the student lifecycle. They work collaboratively with other divisions across the university to provide individualised and timely support to our students. As a result, they create meaningful student to student interactions which facilitate proven student retention by providing support that builds the confidence of the individual and promotes student engagement and success.

This interactive discussion presentation facilitated by current Charles Sturt Students will explore the value or peer to peer support for students backed by coordinated communication campaigns.

In particular, the presentation will address:

·        Why peer to peer support works for student retention

·        What’s the benefit of combining peer to peer engagement and coordinated communication

·        What could peer to peer student retention look like in the future

Attending this session will be beneficial for anyone who wants to learn about the work of the Student Central Outreach Team who sit inside Student Central and learn first-hand what our students are saying during key moments in the student lifecycle.  Attendees will also get a better understanding of how the teams develop accurate analytics models to inform target communication interventions to show that peer to peer engagement improves student retention.

As it becomes more important than ever in a competing environment to improve the first-year experience, we need to understand how coordinated retention programs including the use of peer to peer engagement can improve the student performance.