At-Risk Students: An Early Intervention System

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF10 Sub-theme: Inspiring Innovations // During the Covid-19 lockdown, the University of the South Pacific (USP) had to close the Face-to-Face (F2F) delivery of lectures, tutorials and Drop-in support services at all its campuses. This included closing the Drop-in sessions at Student Learning Support (SLS) that provide additional literacy, numeracy and remedial support for students studying at USP. Given that all courses changed to online mode, contact with students was only possible using online virtual sessions such as Big Blue Button (BBB) or Zoom. Such sessions were only possible for students who had facilities and resources and could afford to study online. With Internet cafes and USP's Outreach Hubs, computer labs, and libraries closed, it further limited facilities for studying online for many. Realising major accessibility issues for the majority of its students, particularly those who needed support the most, USP formed a working group of SLS, First-Year Experience (FYEC) Coordinators, Information Technology Services (ITS), and Student Administrative Services (SAS) to design a strategy to identify and support the At-Risk Students (ARS). Moodle, the Learning Management System (LMS) used at USP, which records all students' activities became the central platform for this intervention. With SLS and FYE access to student activity and logs across the different schools at USP, the team worked on the design and implementation of an intervention system to help students isolated due to COVID-19 lockdowns. Intervention systems have been successfully used at many universities (Carroll, 2007; Burmack, 2002; Riddle, 2009; Frey & Fisher, 2008; Trilling & Fadel, 2009; Zhang, Fei, Quddau and Davis, 2014), showing a reduction in dropout and a better pass rate. The approach used at USP involved creating regular contact with the ARS studying in isolation or lockdown, supporting them through internet data plans for studying and virtual academic support sessions. The results showed an increase in these students' Moodle activity and better performance in the courses they were enrolled in. This paper discusses the planning, strategies, and results from a primary survey conducted on these ARS' performances. // Paper ID 1292

Accessibility,Learner Support,Learning Management Systems (LMS)