The Promise and Perils of Asynchronous Learning: How Faculty, Students, and Administrators can Collaboratively Increase Retention and Satisfaction in the Online Classroom

Devan Bissonette


This paper explores some of the major challenges faced by faculty, students, administrators,  and support staff in retaining online students, and doing so while earning high marks for the quality of each course. A number of strategies are explored beginning with the need to carefully consider effective mixes of technology, structure, and content in the classroom environment. With an emphasis on social presence and careful consideration of how students use technology to access the class learning management system (LMS), the paper offers a variety of options to build classroom spaces that foster a sense of community and collaboration. Thereafter the paper addresses best practices to turn well‐ considered design elements into a classroom experience which addresses issues related to retention, achieving learning outcomes, and ensuring students and faculty invest in the learning process from day one. By addressing concerns shared by the major actors in the field of online education, realistic best practices can be identified to help ensure online learning achieves, if not exceeds, retention and satisfaction levels seen from brick‐and‐mortar classrooms.


online learning; LMS; education; pedagogy; virtual communities

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